GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – As the weather warms up, the Green Bay Police wanted to remind residents how to handle incidents where domestic animals are left inside a vehicle on a warm day.

The Green Bay Police Department posted on its Facebook page how residents should handle incidents where animals are left in cars or outside without water/shelter. The department said that it gets questions on what the public can do when an animal inside a vehicle is seen in distress.

One popular question the department gets: ‘when can the public break a window to save the animal?’ Officials mention that some ‘very specific’ requirements need to be met before taking action.

It is required by state statute that police/law enforcement be contacted before taking any action. Police say that taking an animal from a vehicle could end up in a disturbance with the owner or an animal bite.

Wisconsin Statute 895.484 was mentioned in the post and makes a person immune from civil liability if:

  • A person or domestic animal was present in the vehicle and the actor had a good faith belief that the person or animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless he or she exited or was removed from the vehicle.
  • The actor determined that the vehicle was locked and that forcible entry was necessary to enable the actor to enter the vehicle or to enable the person or domestic animal to be removed from or to exit the vehicle.
  • The actor dialed 9-1-1 or otherwise contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services or animal control before he or she forcibly entered the vehicle.
  • The actor remained with the person or animal until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical service provider, animal control officer or other emergency medical responder arrived at the scene.
  • The actor used no more force than he or she reasonably believed necessary to enter the vehicle.
  • If the actor left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned to the scene, the actor placed a notice on the windshield of the vehicle that included their name, telephone number and mailing address. The reason for entering the vehicle and the location of the person or animal when the actor left the scene.

The Green Bay Police Department also advised residents to give water and shelter to pets outside in warm weather. Authorities also said that cracking a window in a car does not make a difference.

More information about pets in vehicles can be found here.