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VERIFY: Yes, it's legal to break windows to save children, not pets, from hot cars

Public safety officials have tools to use in an emergency and get into a car easily.

GRAY, Ga. — The Question:

Can you break a hot car window to save a child or pet?


Travis Douglas, Captain of Patrol for Jones County Sheriff's Office

Shane Edwards, Fire Chief, Macon-Bibb County Fire Department

The Answer:

Yes, you can break the window of a hot car to help a child.

No, you can't break a window for an animal.

What we found:

Captain of Patrol Travis Douglas says the laws are different for a child versus a pet.

"You would be protected under the good Samaritan law that was passed back in 2015 for a child. Now for an animal it's a little different. You're no protected under the good Samaritan law," Douglas said

When 13WMAZ talked with Shane Edwards, he said if you see an individual or an animal alone in a locked car, you should call 911. 

Public safety officials have tools to use in case of an emergency and can usually get into the car easily and legally. 

Additionally, Douglas says there are new laws taking effect next month to help save pets in a hot car.

"As of July first, law enforcement and animal control officers will be given immunity if we had to break the window to get in for an animal," Douglas said.

Shane Edwards, Fire Chief of the Macon-Bibb Fire Department,  says it's rare for the fire department to have difficulty getting into a car. 

He says his department will not come to unlock you car if you leave your keys in the car, and recommends you call a locksmith. 

The only way the fire department or law enforcement will come is if there is someone visibly inside.

If you have a claim you want us to verify, you can send your question here.


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