BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Florida Governor Rick Scott has passed a bill legalizing breaking into locked vehicles to rescue pets and people that are believed to be in danger of suffocation or harm.
The law, which also extends to the rescue of “vulnerable persons” such as kids or adults with mental or physical impairments, allows people who rescue pets from hot cars to be exempt from civil liability for any damage to the vehicle. But before you go breaking into people’s cars, there are a few stipulations.
According to the Weather Channel, the rescuer first has to ensure that the vehicle is locked. Next, they must have reasonable belief that entering the vehicle is actually necessary to the safety of the person or animal. If they still find they need to break into the vehicle, then they must call 911 or law enforcement either before or immediately after they do so. The rescuer must use only the necessary amount of force to break in. Finally, they must remain with the person or animal until first-responders arrive.
Florida is the second state to pass this law after Tennessee, who put the law into effect last summer, according to We Love All Animals.
On average, 37 children in the U.S. die every year from heatstroke. The number one reason for children being left in a car is being “forgotten” by a caregiver. Only 20 states have laws regarding leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. According to PETA, animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes.
This new law will hopefully save the lives of many children and animals.