Animal rights advocates are cheering a new law that went into effect in Tennessee at the beginning of the month that could save the lives of furry friends. Under an extension of the Good Samaritan law that allows people to break into a hot car to free a child, citizens can now also free trapped animals, WKRN reports. Essentially, as long as the individual attempts to find the animal's owner and notifies police, they'll be shielded from civil liability if a vehicle is damaged during a rescue. "If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life," the Nashville Fire Department's chief of staff says.
State Rep. David Hawk, who sponsored the law, tells the Johnson City Press that Tennessee is the first state to put such a rule on the books. Had a similar law been in place in Georgia earlier this year, a man who knocked a window out of a car to save a dog wouldn't have faced charges. "It's good for folks to know that they have this ability to take action should a possible tragic event happen," Hawk says. "On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 160 degrees, even with the windows cracked," a rep for the ASPCA tells the Huffington Post. That means if you're outside of Tennessee and "see a dog at risk in a hot car, call 911 immediately."