People Are Jerks, But No You Can’t Break A Window To Save A Pet In Texas
It's that time of year again. Texas heat brings sweat, tan lines, sun burns, and a group of forgetful people - or just plain jerks - that leave their pets in their car while they go get their nails done, run inside Lowe's, hit up happy hour, or eat In & Out like this lady here. I hate these people.
Ok, so maybe hate is a strong word. You probably shouldn't hate anyone...but I strongly dislike these people. So I ask you, if you saw a pet left in a hot car, would you break the window to get them out? Would you call 911? Would you wait to yell at the person whose car it is? Most Good Samaritans would just free the animal as soon as they could, especially if it was in distress. However, you could face punishment for doing so.
Several states (California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Tennessee) have Good Samaritan laws that permit you to break a car window to save a pet. Unfortunately, here in Texas, there are no current statutes that make leaving a pet in a parked car or truck illegal. Some people wouldn't let this stop them from freeing a distressed pet, and honestly, I couldn't blame them. It would be hard for me to sit there watching an animal that can't help itself. I'd call 911 immediately! Just because you can't break the window, doesn't mean the person that left the pet there can't face animal cruelty charges in Texas. Leaving a pet in a hot car for an extended period of time can be considered animal cruelty, which is punishable by jail time and a fine.
Texas House Bill 810 was presented in 2019 changing this law, but ultimately didn't pass.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, in 19 states, only public officials (such as law enforcement and humane officers) can legally break into a car to rescue an animal. These states include Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
So before you go and make a mess in a Lowe's parking lot, call 911. That's the quickest and legal way to go about this.
Also, DON'T LEAVE YOUR PET IN A HOT CAR. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.