Should Citizens Be Allowed to Smash Car Windows to Rescue Kids, Pets?

San Antonio City Council will consider a 'Good Samaritan Law' which would allow citizens to smash the windows of vehicles to rescue a pet or a child inside the car during hot weather, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Northwest side Councilman Greg Brockhouse says San Antonio Police, EMS, and Animal Care Services received 764 calls in 2017, or about two every day, for animals or children locked inside cars in public places.

Currently, only police officers and other officials are allowed to break windows in a situation like that.  Any citizen who breaks a window to rescue a child or a pet would face a criminal mischief charge, pluse the possibility of a civil lawsuit.

Brockhouse's proposal, which is expected to come up before City Council next month, would allow citizens to take action in very specific circumstances:

1) The person believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm

2) The the urgency of avoiding the harm clearly outweigh, according to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the law punishing th conduct.

3) The motor vehicle is locked and no reasonable method for the person to exit the vehicle without assistance.

4) Reasonable belief, based on known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is necessary to avoid imminent harm to the individual.

5) Prior to entering the motor vehicle, ensures that law enforcement iws notified or 9-1-1 is called if the person is not a law enforcement officer or other first responder.

6)  Uses no more force to enter the motor vehicle and remove the individual than is necessary

7)  Remains with the individual in a safe location that is in reasonable proximity to the motor vehicle until a law enforcement officer or other first responder arrives.

The Texas Legislature would also have to take action, to permit the City of San Antonio to approve a 'Good Samaritan Law.'