Milo Police Department:: The law regarding animals in a hot car.
June 02, 2013 - MILO
The temps have been high and we hope you are all keeping cool. To address several people asking questions about animals left in vehicles on these hot days, let me post the law regarding it:
Title 7 MRSA § 4019. Removal from unattended motor vehicle
1. 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 animals 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. 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 or agent 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 persons 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. 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.
This week, there was a call I heard in Dover-Foxcroft for a dog locked inside of a vehicle. The Officer on shift was at a crash and had the ACO respond. That is all we can do. If you come across this situation, do everything you can to find the owner - get the plate, call the Sheriff Office, and try to locate the owner inside. While you are doing that, we will be responding and we can address the issue. Immunity does not apply to those not listed in the statute, so please, do not break the window. Leave that to us. I would rather summons someone for animal cruelty than report how a concerned citizen broke a window and now is being sued by the vehicle owner to replace the glass.
NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.