Friday, May 25, 2018

Rescuing Dogs Locked in Hot Vehicles...Wisconsin Law

Rescuing Dogs Locked in Hot Vehicles

In the 2015-16 Session, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted an additional “Good Samaritan” statute s.895.484, (2015 Wis. Act 103) which provides immunity from liability for property damage or injury resulting from forcible entry into a vehicle under certain circumstances.

A person is immune from civil liability if all of the following conditions are met: 

·  A person or a domestic animal was present in the vehicle and the actor had a good faith belief that the person or domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless the person or domestic animal exited or was removed from the vehicle.  

·  The actor determined that the vehicle was locked and that forcible entry was necessary to enable the actor to enter the vehicle or to enable the person or domestic animal to be removed from or to exit the vehicle.  

·  Before forcibly entering the vehicle, the actor dialed the telephone number “911” or otherwise contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services, or animal control. 

·  The actor remained with the person or domestic animal until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical service provider, animal control officer, or other first responder arrived at the scene.

·  The actor used no more force than he or she reasonably believed necessary to enter the vehicle in order to remove the person or domestic animal or to allow the person or domestic animal to exit the vehicle.

·  If the actor left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned to the scene, the actor placed a notice on the windshield of the vehicle that included the actor’s name, telephone number, and mailing address, the reason the actor entered the vehicle, and the location, if known, of the person or domestic animal when the actor left the scene.

The statute defines “domestic animal” as a “dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and kept as a household pet.” [s. 895.484 (1) (a), Stats.] Farm animals, defined in s. 951.01 (3), Stats., as any “warm-blooded animal normally raised on farms in the United States and used or intended for use as food or fiber,” are explicitly excluded from this definition.

Under the Good Samaritan law, the term “vehicle” means a “motor vehicle, or any other vehicle, that is used to transport persons or cargo and that is enclosed.” [s. 895.484 (1) (b), Stats.]

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