Keeping children, pets safe from heat in vehicles - WNEM TV 5

Keeping children, pets safe from heat in vehicles

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

It's a story that happens all too often this time of the year - a young child or pet is found unresponsive after being left inside a hot vehicle.

On a 90 degree day it can take just 10 minutes for the temperature inside of a vehicle to reach 130 or more.

"If I saw a dog suffering in the heat I would definitely break the window out," said Dave Bertie, resident.

He loves dogs. Bertie said he would have no problem jumping into action to save a family pet or child if they were left alone in a vehicle on a hot day.

"I would hope if it was my dog for some reason in that same situation, someone would do that. Because it's just not right. It's torturing an animal and that should never happen," Bertie said.

Do residents have the legal right to do that? TV5 went to Saginaw Township Police Chief Donald Pussehl to get the answer.

"We would encourage citizens to immediately call 911. Have an officer respond and evaluate the situation and let the officer take the appropriate action in dealing with that emergency," Pussehl said.

He said residents should only act if it appears the child or animal is in a life-threatening situation. For example, unconscious or not breathing. In any other situation, Pussehl said leave it to the professionals. If not, you could be held liable for the actions you take.

"They may be putting themselves at risk for a suit. Or for repaying for the damages that was done to the vehicle," Pussehl said.

As for Bertie, he believes coughing up some dough is a small price to pay for saving a life. He said regardless of what the law is, he would make sure  the child or animal is safe.

"I think it would be worth it to me to pay the price for a new window," Bertie said.

About 37 children die each year in over-heated vehicles.

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