It's heating up outside and we want to take care of all the animals we encounter, but what can we legally do in Iowa?

Picture this: you're leaving the grocery store, trudging back to your car in 100% humidity and 99 degrees. It's hot, you're sweaty, and you happen to glance ahead of your cart and you see it. It's a dog by itself with the windows rolled up in a car that isn't running. Your first instinct may be like mine: to break the window enough so that the pup can at least breathe. Or you might go back into the store to try to find the owner so they can at least crack the window. But legally, what can you actually do if that store is in Iowa?

In Illinois, law recommends that you call first responders before trying to take action yourself.


Iowa Does Not Have A "Good Samaritan" Law

According to Animal Legal Defense Fund, several states do allow concerned citizens to break into cars to help rescue a dog who is trapped. Iowa is not one of those states. Legally speaking, you can't just break a window to help a dog in Iowa. 

Animal Law doesn't specify if Iowa has laws in place that do not allow leaving animals in parked cars but obviously, it's not a good idea to do, especially in hot weather since the car interior gets even hotter than the outside temp.

The Humane Society of North Iowa told KCCI that if you come across a dog stuck in a car in Iowa, check to see if the car is running and take down the car's license info. If it's not running, call law enforcement to come get the animal. If the dog is in imminent danger, the humane society recommends using your own judgment on whether or not to break a window but remember the legal ramifications of it.

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