Winners of 'Public Choice' Award

Monday, 15 July 2013

Can I Smash A Car Window To Save A Dog?

When it comes to dogs we're really lucky in that we can pick up the phone, drop an email or send a Facebook message to some really knowledgeable & great people in the dog world. We've had no end of help from many great people, no more so than recently with Izzy. We've been really lucky to be able to call on people who have experience with Dutch Herders & we're really grateful to the people who've taken the time to offer their advice especially TG, John Kelly & Justin Armstrong.

One person who really knows his dogs is Keith Evans of Pedmore Dog Training. I've said to Keith a few times about doing a guest Blog for us, so we've finally managed to get some material off him!!

Keith is one of the most knowledgeable 'dog people' I know, but not only is he a dog encyclopaedia he is a real 'dog person' who really cares for dogs. Honestly if there's a decent dog book out there Keith will have studied it! Keith does a lot of charity work especially for the Happy Staffie charity. So when I say he knows his stuff . . . . he really does know his stuff.

You can 'Follow Keith' on Twitter.

There's been so much being said about Dogs In Hot Cars and it's still extremely clear that people are just not getting the message. There's been a huge number of calls to both Police Forces and the RSPCA - not to mention the tragedy of dogs actually dying having been left in a car. I honestly can't believe it still happens. The message is very very clear & it's one we'll never get tired of shouting (& I hope you all do the same too!)


We've seen many comments & Tweets on Facebook & Twitter about what to do if you see a dog in a car. A lot of people have also asked about smashing a car window to rescue the dog. Well, here is your answer!

Here's Keith's first guest Blog post - hopefully the first of many!!

Can I smash a car window to save a dog?

I was asked by the Dogs Trust for my opinion on the law relating to a member of the public's powers, if any, to assist a dog in distress in a hot vehicle, and whether one may force entry into the vehicle. My response was as follows...

"The law states:

1. Only a local authority Inspector or a Constable have a power to enter a "premises" for the purpose of assisting an animal that is, or is likely to be, suffering. This is governed under Sections 18 and 19 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Sec 62(1) AWA 2006 defines "any vehicle" as a "premises".

2. Any member of the public who breaks into a vehicle to assist a suffering dog would not be protected by the powers under the AWA 2006, and would no doubt be subject of an investigation for an offence of Criminal Damage. However, Sec 5(2)(b) Criminal Damage Act 1971, does offer a defence to their actions in that (i) property was in immediate need of protection, and (ii) that the means of protection were reasonable.

For their actions to be reasonable there must be a level of implied consent. For example, "I broke the lock off the water bowser to put out the burning shed." It would be reasonable to assume an implied consent from the owner that they would wish the person to damage a £5 lock to save a £500 shed and it's contents.

It might be argued that it would be reasonable for a person to believe that there was an implied consent from the owner of the car for them to break a car window to save their dog.

The big word here is "reasonable". If a person just breaks a window as there is a dog inside, and the dog is obviously fit and well, then their actions might well be deemed unreasonable, and they would have committed an offence.

My advice is that if a person thinks that a dog is suffering, or is likely to suffer, they should call the police on 999. Only in the gravest of circumstances should they take it upon themselves to break into a vehicle, and that they must be prepared to justify their actions during any subsequent investigation."

I hope that goes to clarify the issue in some way.

Please post your thoughts.



  1. It is a difficult area, and one where most people would instinctively act before they think, I think I probably would. By the time you would dial the emergency services and they respond, the animal could be dead already. I would hope that common sense would apply in the law here.

  2. If I saw a dog in distress in a hot car I would break the window to get it out and gladly pay the consequences after if any. A dog's life to me is far more precious than the cost of damages and maybe court costs at a later date.

  3. I am a human being and seeing a dog in distress would distress me a great deal. I owe it to my self to help an animal before it suffers irreversible damage or death. I consider that to be reasonable.
    Prosecute me for having a heart, if you want. I don't mind, I am standing by my believes.