Following our FaceBook post on 3 July about looking after animals in the hot weather, several people have asked us about the legal aspects of breaking a car window if a dog is locked in a hot car. Bright Avocats in Toulouse has kindly given us this answer.
Sarah Bright explains: Legally, article 122-7 of the Criminal code states “A person is not criminally liable who, in the face of a present or imminent danger which threatens themself, others or property, performs an act necessary to safeguard the person or property.”
Therefore, if there is an imminent danger the breaking of the car window is justified. The owner of the car could pursue you before a civil court for the costs to repair the window if they consider that there was no imminent danger.
Of course, if in doubt it is preferable to call the emergency services so that they intervene.
Thank you Sarah, hopefully we can help save a pet or two now we know.