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Vermont now allows dog, child rescue from locked cars

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Vermont now allows dog, child rescue from locked cars

    Dez Marcello poses for a picture in Williston, VT on Thursday. Marcello is a veterinary technician at the Burlington Emergency and Veterinary Specialists. (Photo: EROS HOAGLAND/ Burlington Free Press)

    By April Burbank
    Burlington Free Press Staff Writer
    July 11, 2016, 12:13 p.m. EDT

    Dez Marcello heard the barking immediately.

    She looked around the parking lot last month at Warren Falls, the popular swimming hole, and saw a young beagle trapped in a Jeep.

    The windows were cracked a couple of inches, and the vehicle was parked in the shade, but the dog had no water. Marcello and her partner, who both work as veterinary technicians, knew how quickly the vehicle would have heated up on an 80-degree day.

    There was no sign of the owner after 45 minutes, and no one had cell phone service. Marcello, her partner and two other women decided to break into the soft-topped Jeep.

    “We didn’t have to cause any damage to the car,” Marcello said. “We unzipped it and took the dog out.”

    While the beagle took a long drink of water, Marcello and her partner left in search of cell phone service — and called the police.

    Vermont State Police in Middlesex confirmed that they received two calls about the incident. Neither Marcello nor police know what happened to the dog after the rescue.

    Her Facebook post about the June 18 incident, which included a photo of the vehicle’s Massachusetts license plate, was shared more than 7,000 times.

    Marcello knows exactly how dogs can suffer in a hot car. She helps to care for dogs suffering from heat stroke at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Services in Williston.

    She sees bright red gums with drops of blood. In the worst cases, a dog’s organs fail.

    “Sure, I don’t know the whole situation,” Marcello said. “But the fact was the dog was in that car for at least 45 minutes, and that’s really frustrating.”

    A new state law that took effect July 1 will shield people from civil liability when they break into a locked vehicle to rescue a child or dog in “imminent danger of harm.”

    The law requires people to call 911, fire or police before breaking into a car. They must check that the doors are locked, must use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle, must stay with the child or dog until emergency personnel arrive, and must leave a note on the vehicle about what happened.

    Lt. Garry Scott of the Vermont State Police recommends that people call police rather than taking matters into their own hands. The new law is intended to be used only in emergency situations.

    “Hopefully this is more of a Good Samaritan-type law,” said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who was responsible for adding the provisions to driver-license legislation this year.

    On a 72-degree day, temperatures in a car can reach 116 degrees in an hour, said Joanne Bourbeau, northeastern region director for the Humane Society of the United States.

    She recommends that people leave pets at home on hot days if they cannot take them into their destination.

    “Animals cannot sweat, so they sweat through panting and through their footpads,” Bourbeau said.

    Vermont prosecutors may cite dog owners under animal cruelty statutes for leaving animals in a hot. Gary Scott, the state police lieutenant, said any citation would depend on the particular circumstances.

    “It’s not going to be an automatic citation to a person for this," said Scott.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    That dog was left in the car too long, it's good that someone was there to help it, too many dogs die in situations like that. I'd prefer it if people called 911 and had the cops enter the vehicle though. What was done with the dog once outside the car? Was it taken to a shelter, reunited with the owner?

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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