Is it Illegal in New Jersey to Break a Window to Rescue a Dog in a Hot Car?
It amazes me that we learn of another case of animal cruelty during every heatwave with dogs and other helpless animals being left in sweltering cars.
Listen to Matt Ryan weekday afternoons on 94.3 The Point and download our free 94.3 The Point app.
According to N.J.S.A. 4:22-26, it is against the law in New Jersey to leave a living animal or creature:
unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature.
The pathetic fine is "not less than $250 nor more than $1,000."
Do you know what else is also against the law? Rescuing an animal by means of breaking a window or entering the vehicle.
While other states have 'Good Samaritan' laws on the books, New Jersey does not have a law allowing you to save an animal by breaking into a vehicle. In most cases, law enforcement can't even intervene.
I don't know about you, but if I saw a living creature suffocating in a hot car, I'd say "screw the fine (or worse)" and break the window or whatever else I needed to, law or no law. This is what I personally would do. I don't advocate taking that action.
The Humane Society recommends doing the following if you find a creature in a hot car: