More and more people are including their dogs in their travels and everyday activities. By and large, this is a great thing. Unfortunately, there are times dogs are left in situations that can put their lives at risk.
As a response, some lawmakers have sought to enact laws to help dogs in dangerous situations. This may include allowing certain first responders to enter vehicles and remove dogs in distress, or “Good Samaritan” laws that allow members of the general public to rescue dogs from vehicles.
As well-meaning as these proposals may be, there are many potential unintended consequences that can come from overly-broad laws allowing anyone to rescue a dog from a vehicle – including endangering the safety of dogs and others. In addition, it is important to consider that not every situation and every dog are the same – dogs have a wide variety of needs and tolerances. What may be a dangerous temperature for one dog may be perfectly safe (or even ideal) for another dog. View AKC’s key issues page on Dogs and Temperatures (coming soon) for more information.
The American Kennel Club strongly believes that no dog should be left in a vehicle if its comfort, health, and safety is in danger. In the same way, laws addressing this issue must provide a fair and balanced approach to protect the health of dogs, and also the rights of responsible dog owners.
Dogs in Vehicles: Avoiding Unintended Consequences in "Good Samaritan Laws"
Good Samaritan Laws: Unintended Consequences Require a Balanced Approach (Printable PDF)
AKC Updates Position Statement to Address Concerns of Dogs in Vehicles
Good Samaritan Laws: Unintended Consequences Require a Balanced Approach
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