With summer finally here, dog owners are being reminded not to leave their dog in a hot car. Temperatures inside a parked car can soar to dangerous levels in minutes. But what can you do if you see a dog unattended in a parked car on a hot day? Sarah Dunne, Associate and Head of the Criminal Law department at Hegarty Solicitors, clarifies your rights regarding breaking into a hot car to rescue a dog:-
“Ordinarily, if you were to break a car window without the owner’s permission you would be guilty of criminal damage. However, if you had a reasonable belief that a dog was suffering inside the car then you would be in a position to defend a criminal damage allegation on the basis that your actions were with a view to protecting the dog and potentially preventing the commission of the crime of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog.
“Your actions would need to be reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances and would depend on a variety of factors but if you had reasonable cause to believe that a dog would continue to suffer, and you had considered alternatives such as looking for the dog’s owners or calling the police, you would not be guilty of a criminal offence if you chose to take action to protect the dog at risk.”