It's something we've all seen at one point or another in a busy grocery store or convenience store parking lot, and quite possibly something we've all done ourselves. Because, after all, we're only running in for a quick minute for one or two things, right?

Pets in Cars

How many times have you parked either at a gas station to run inside real quick, at a grocery store to do your nightly or weekly shopping, or at a store like Walmart or Target to accidentally drop $200 when you planned on buying just one item, and seen (or heard) a dog through the front passenger or rear windows of a car?

Photo by dominik hofbauer on Unsplash
Photo by dominik hofbauer on Unsplash
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What might seem like a quick run inside of a store for you couldn't be more opposite for your pet.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, even on a 70-degree day, a car can heat up to 90 degrees in about 10 minutes. And on a particularly hot day, the inside of a car can reach triple digits in less time than that.

Since most people (the smart ones, really) believe that animals/pets are way better than humans, that really only leaves on question when you come across this situation.

Photo by Salah Ait Mokhtar on Unsplash / Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash
Photo by Salah Ait Mokhtar on Unsplash / Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash
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Is It Legal to Break Car Windows for Pets?

The answer should be an easy 100% yes without question, but unfortunately, it's not that simple. Obviously, we only care about the laws on this for New England states (we'll even include you this time, Connecticut, since it's all about the pets).

So, according to the Animal Legal and Historical Center at the Michigan State University College of Law:

In Maine, only "a law enforcement officer, humane agent, animal control officer, firefighter, first responder, or license security guard" may legally break a vehicle's windows if an animal's well-being is in danger.

In New Hampshire, "any law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization" may legally break a vehicle's windows if an animal's well-being is in danger.

In Vermont, you average everyday citizen is protected legally to break a vehicle's windows to rescue an animal if they truly believe it's in danger, notify authorities, leave a note mentioning authorities have been notified, and don't use any more force than necessary to rescue.

In Massachusetts, basically, the same rules apply as they do for Vermont.

In Rhode Island, only "an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or firefighter" may legally break a vehicle's windows if an animal's well-being is in danger.

Finally, in Connecticut, more or less that same rules apply as they do in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash
Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash
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Honestly? Props to Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for protecting the people that are just trying to protect innocent pets from dangerous and life-threatening situations.

The rest of New England should follow suit. Because there's no doubt there are plenty of animal lovers that wouldn't think twice about going to jail to save a helpless dog, cat, or another animal's life if they were left in a sweltering hot or subzero freezing car with no escape possible.

You're Breaking The Law In Maine If You Have Any Of These Animals As Pets

Stick to the cats and dogs that you know because if you're keeping any of these animals (or animals like them) as pets in Maine, you're breaking the law and could face stiff penalties.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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