Maine Law - Dogs in Hot Cars
Written by MFOA   
Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Dog in Hot Car

It is that time of year again - when animals are in danger of dying from heat exposure if left in vehicles unattended.

We thought this would be a good time to review the Maine law on who is authorized to remove animals in distress from unattended motor vehicles.

In 2011, MFOA submitted and passed improvements to the existing law in Maine, expanding the type of authorities that can help an animal (dog, cat, horse, etc.) that may be in danger in a hot (or cold) vehicle.

Originally, Maine law only allowed law enforcement officers (police & animal control officers) to intervene in these instances, but today, first responders (fire fighters, EMS) AND security guards are also allowed to remove an animal in distress from an unattended vehicle without repercussion as long as the law is followed.

Below is the Maine law. Please share and always contact one of these authorities for help if you see an animal suffering from extreme temperatures in an enclosed vehicle.
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7§4019. Removal from unattended motor vehicle

1. Removal authorized
A law enforcement officer, humane agent, animal control officer, firefighter as defined in Title 26, section 2101, first responder as defined in Title 32, section 83, subsection 13-A or security guard licensed under Title 32, chapter 93, referred to in this section as "authorized persons," may take all steps that are reasonably necessary to remove an animal from a motor vehicle if the animal's safety, health or well-being appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold or lack of adequate ventilation and the conditions could reasonably be expected to cause extreme suffering or death.


2. Notice required
A law enforcement officer, humane agent or animal control officer who removes an animal in accordance with subsection 1 shall, in a secure and conspicuous location on or within the motor vehicle, leave written notice bearing the officer's or agent's name and office and the address of the location where the animal may be claimed. A firefighter, first responder or security guard who removes an animal in accordance with subsection 1 shall, in a secure and conspicuous location on or within the motor vehicle, leave written notice bearing the person's name and the address of the location where the animal may be claimed. The owner may claim the animal only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal.


3. Immunity
An authorized person who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection 1 is immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.

 

Please, if you see a dog (or other animal) in distress inside of an unattended motor vehicle, call the police, call the animal control officer, grab a security guard, call someone on the above list of people authorized in Maine to help in these types of situations.  Time is of the essence for the animal trapped inside the vehicle -- it depends on the kindness of strangers such as you, to survive.  Thank you!



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