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Ohio law allows person to break car window to rescue animal

A parked car uses a sun shade to keep interior cool (WNWO/Marcus Espinoza).

Hundreds of pets die each year from being left in hot cars, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Because of this, Ohio passed a law last year that went into effect in August of 2016 that allows a person to break the window of a car to save an animal or child who is in danger.

Ohio Senator Frank LaRose cosponsored the bill and said he wanted to give people the ability to take action.

"Basically (it's) a chance for a good Samaritan to do the right thing and rescue a child or animal out of a dangerous situation without fearing legal liability," said LaRose.

Dr. Sara Starkey is the associate veterinarian at Shoreland Animal Hospital in Point Place.

She says dogs don't cool off the same way as people do.

"Dogs don't sweat, so they have to pant to get off excess heat...so they can pant and pant and pant, but if that air they're taking in is hot, than their temperature can keep going up and up," said Dr. Starkey.

The law states you must try to first get help from police or animal services or attempt to find the owner of the animal before resorting to breaking the window.

Dr. Starkey agrees, if you've tried everything else, it might be time to take action.

"If it's been at least ten minutes and you've tried to go into the store, calling the police officers, seeing if you can get someone to help you, if not, it's been ten minutes, you're safe enough to break the window then," said Dr. Starkey.

She goes on to say if you rescue a dog out of a hot car, put them in shade, run cool water over them and try to get them to drink water.

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