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Leaving Pets in the Car Can Be Deadly

Summer temperatures are here… how can you help a distressed dog trapped inside a locked hot car?

Georgia law allows a law enforcement officer to break into a vehicle to save an animal and receive immunity from civil liability.


  • Call 911.

  • Stay on the scene to direct the law enforcement officer to the vehicle.

  • Be prepared to show a copy of O.C.G.A. § 35-1-7. (Some officers may not be aware that this law passed in 2019.) Take a screenshot of the law below and save it on your phone; or print a hard copy and keep it in your wallet or car.

O.C.G.A. § 35-1-7: Liability of law enforcement officers performing duties at the scene of an emergency

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) "Emergency" means an occurrence involving, or appearing to involve, a clear and imminent danger or threat to life, health, or property, including, but not limited to, the rescuing of a person or pet from a locked vehicle when such person or pet remaining within such vehicle presents a clear and imminent danger to such person's or pet's life or health.

(2) "Law enforcement officer" means any peace officer who is employed by this state or any political subdivision thereof and who is required by the terms of his or her employment, whether by election or appointment, to give his or her full time to the preservation of public order or the protection of life and property or the prevention of crime. Such term shall include sheriffs and deputy sheriffs.

(3) "Pet" means any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of its owner.

(b) A law enforcement officer shall not be liable at law for any action or actions done while performing any duty at the scene of an emergency except for gross negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or malfeasance.

Link to O.C.G.A. § 35-1-7:

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