When May a Person Remove a Dog From Another’s Car Due to Extreme Weather?

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In Massachusetts it’s legal to remove a dog from another’s vehicle if the animal is in immediate danger due to severe weather conditions. Before taking such action, however, a number of steps must be followed. Massachusetts General Law chapter 140, section 174F(e) reads as follows:

After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner, a person other than an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter shall not enter a motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger unless the person:

(i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle;

(ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal;

(iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and

(iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.

Sections (f) states:

A person who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (e) shall be immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.

Need legal help? Contact me at justin@jrmccarthy.com.

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