New Oregon law allows people to break car windows to save kids, animals

(MGN Online photo)

A new law recently passed in Oregon clears people of criminal and civil liability if they were to break a car window to save an unattended child or animal who appears to be in imminent danger.

House Bill 2732 was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday.

The law took effect immediately.

The Oregon Humane Society helped push the new law through the Legislature.

"It gives people the ability to intervene on behalf of children and animals when they're most at risk. And on days like today, this is so important," said Oregon Humane Society President and CEO Sharon Harmon.

Before a good Samaritan chooses to break a car window to save an animal or child most likely stuck in a hot, locked car, they would have to contact law enforcement.

They are also required to "use no more force than is necessary to enter the [car] and remove the child or animal." They would have to stay with the child or animal until first responders and police arrived or the owner of the car came back.

The law doesn't protect people for gross negligence or for reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct that may occur.

Two years ago, a local man left his 6-month-old baby in the car for six hours while he was at work at Intel. The little girl died in the incident.

Several other states have similar laws, but Washington state isn't among them.

Washington only allows law enforcement and animal control officers to break into vehicles to perform rescues.

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