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In extreme temperatures, should a person be allowed to break into a car and free an animal if police are contacted, there is a witness, and the individual believes help will not arrive in time to save the animal from harm?

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Rep. Brian Stone is sponsoring HB 1394, a bill that would empower residents to break into a car to save an animal in extreme temperatures.

Current law on confined animals

Under current state law, it is a misdemeanor to confine an animal to a car when it is very hot or very cold.

A law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization may break into a car to free an animal. However, current state law doesn’t offer protections for private citizens who act to help an animal they believe is in danger. That means someone who breaks into a car could be held liable for damage to the vehicle.

Click here to learn more about animal rights in New Hampshire.

Should citizens be allowed to take action?

Some states, such as Ohio, already allow Good Samaritans to free confined pets, so long as there is an attempt to call police.

Supporters of these laws point to many examples of animals dying in cars. Even police canines have died in patrol cars.

Leave it to the police

Opponents of Good Samaritan laws argue that overzealous citizens will break into cars unnecessarily, damaging private property when animals are not in serious danger.

Others argue a public education campaign about the dangers of pets in cars would be more appropriate.

Do you support HB 1394? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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Yes, given the qualifiers a citizen should be able to break into a car to save an animal.

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