Can you legally break a window to save a dog inside a hot car in the state of New York? The answer may surprise you.

You'd think if you come across a dog in a car on a hot day, it'd be not only legal but encouraged to break the window.

It's actually illegal not only in New York but in 41 other states too. Only public officials in New York State have the authority to break the windows of a car in order to save pets in hot weather, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Just because you can't break a window, doesn't mean you can't help. Call 911 and someone can be sent to help anyone or anything left inside a vehicle on a hot day.

Good Samaritan Law

Several states have passed the 'Good Samaritan' law to protect dogs and children left in hot cars. New York isn't one of them. You can actually face jail time for smashing a window, even if it is to save an animal. But you probably won't if you're good intentions save an animal or child.

"I am not prosecuting someone who legitimately believes he or she is saving an animal,” Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told

A law was signed into effect in 2019 to give more officials the authority to break into a vehicle. Firefighters and emergency medical professionals don't have to wait anymore for the police to arrive before breaking into a vehicle to save an animal or child in danger.

It's not only illegal to break a window, but it's also illegal to leave a pet in a car during extreme weather.

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