The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 566 on Tuesday, February 9, which would allow private citizens to remove an animal or minor from a vehicle if they believe that the animal’s health or safety is in danger, only if all the following apply:
- The person determines the vehicle is locked and there is no other reasonable method for the animal or minor to exit the vehicle;
- The person has a reasonable, “good-faith” belief that forcible entry is necessary because of imminent danger if the minor or animal is not removed from the vehicle immediately;
- The person calls local law enforcement, the fire department, or 9-1-1 prior to entering the vehicle;
- The person places a note on the vehicle windshield with their contact information, the reason they entered the vehicle, the location of the minor or animal, and a statement that local authorities have been notified;
- The person stays with the minor or animal in a safe location out of the elements, but reasonably close to the vehicle until law enforcement or another emergency responder arrives; and
- The person uses no more force than is necessary to enter the vehicle.
If all these conditions are met, the person entering the vehicle is exempt from liability for any damage. Unlike other legislation introduced around the country this year on this issue, the AKC appreciates that SB 566 includes additional requirements the person must meet both prior to and after they enter the vehicle.
The AKC does believe that the bill should be amended to include proper protections for the dog owner as well. This includes recourse if they in fact were acting in a responsible manner. Additionally, the bill should be amended to clarify that those who enter a car do so at their own risk and the owner should not be liable if the dog bites someone out of fear or a sense of protection.
Those who wish to comment on this legislation may visit the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee web page for contact information.
The AKC Government Relations Department will continue to monitor this legislation. For questions, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 566 on Tuesday, February 9, which would allow private citizens to remove an animal or minor from a vehicle if they believe that the animals health or safety is in danger, so long as certain conditions are met.