In Maine it is illegal to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle in which the conditions could be harmful to the animal. As the law currently stands here only professionals such as law enforcement, animal control, firefighters, or licensed security guards can break into vehicles.

What if while you are out enjoying your summer you happen to see a dog left alone in a vehicle on a hot day? What should you do? As the current law stands an animal left in a vehicle should be removed if the

Animal's safety, health or well-being appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold or lack of adequate ventilation and the conditions could reasonably be expected to cause extreme suffering or death.


However, in Maine you can't just remove the troubled animal yourself. The only people who can remove the animal is a professional like law enforcement, firefighters, humane society staff, animal control, or any licensed security officer. But what if calling these people are not an option, or the animal needs immediate assistance?

Tennessee has recently changed their 'Good Samaritan Law' to include dogs allowing any one to rescue an animal in distress. However, essentially the same measures must be taken as in Maine. Before breaking into someone's vehicle you must first contact law enforcement and search for the owner of the vehicle in order to be fully protected under the law. Only then can you take any means necessary to rescue the animal.

The Humane Society warns temperatures in a vehicle on an 85-degree day can reach as high as 120-degrees in 30 minutes, even with the windows slightly opened.

There are currently only 16 states with laws on record to remove animals from vehicles for safety reasons.

Should Maine change our laws to include civilian rescue if certain steps are taken?

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