Reminder: it is legal in California to break into a hot car to save an animal

You must notify authorities first.
Dog in car
Dog in car Photo credit Getty Images

Since 2017 it has been legal in the state of California to break into a hot car to save an animal in danger.

If the animal is in imminent danger and you are unable to locate the owner you can break into the vehicle to save the animal, but you MUST notify authorities before doing so to be protected from civil and criminal liability. That means notifying police, animal services, or the fire department beforehand.

As of 2021 it is also now legal to do the same to save a child in a hot car and again you must notify authorities prior to breaking into the vehicle.