So far this year 16 children have died in hot cars. The number of pets that have died hasn't been reported. But if one were to guess, the number would probably be equal or higher. That's why Vermont has a new law aimed at protecting pets and children left in hot cars.
As of July 1, "Forcible Entry of Motor Vehicle for Rescue Purposes" is now legal in the state. The law allows a person to break into a car for the purpose of rescuing a person or animal without fear of liability for damages.
"There are a few things people need to be aware of," said Gretchen Goodman of the Rutland County Humane Society. "First, you really do have to be sure that the child or animal is in immediate danger."
Then, you have to make sure the car is, in fact, locked. Once that has been determined, call the police. Once you have freed the pet or child, stay with the victim in a safe location until help arrives. Citizens need to leave a note on the vehicle and do not use more force than necessary to free the child or dog.
Vermont's law comes after Florida and Tennessee passed similar laws this year. A number of other states are also considering similar laws, including Calfornia, Massachusetts and Michigan.
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