DENVER — A Colorado law passed last year allows citizens to legally break into a vehicle to save the life of a pet or child – but only after taking several other steps.
Before breaking into a vehicle, you must follow these steps first:
- Reasonable belief the kid or pet is in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury
- Make a reasonable effort to contact the owner and law enforcement
- Check to see if the vehicle is locked before breaking in
- Remain with the animal or child until law enforcement or first responders arrive
Before the law was passed in August 2017, you could be charged with criminal mischief or trespassing.
In Denver, it’s a crime to leave an animal in dangerous conditions, such as a hot car, and could result in a $999 fine or up to a year in jail.
Scientists say that on a 90 degree day, the temperature inside a car rises to 100 degrees within five minutes if the windows are cracked (110 degrees if they’re not) and after 30 minutes – it’s 124 degrees.
Colorado is now one of about two dozen other states that give a good Samaritan immunity from any prosecution if they decide to take action to break into a vehicle to save a child or pet.