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Articles in this section are of general information and in every situation are subject to the application and interpretation of a law, rule or factual situation that may differ. Consult us for any specific question.

Am I allowed to break a window to save an animal in a car?

5 July 2018

The Animal Welfare and Safety Act provides that when an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that the welfare or safety of an animal in a vehicle is at risk, they are permitted to use reasonable force to enter the vehicle and help the animal. When they perform such an act of good faith in the performance of their duties, they cannot be prosecuted.

But what about anyone else who finds an animal in such a situation? 

Can anyone intervene to help the animal?

According to the Criminal Code, a person who deliberately destroys or damages a property is liable to a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years if the property is worth more than $ 5,000 and 2 years if it is worth less. However, it could be argued that the action was necessary because of imminent danger, that there was no other way to avoid committing the offence in a reasonable and lawful manner and that the harm inflicted was proportionate to the harm avoided.

You must therefore make sure that you take all the means to justify that you acted by “necessity”. You must call the municipality to get the intervention of an inspector or the police service, take photos and videos, try to find the owner, get help from witnesses, observe the animal and the signs that it is or is not in difficulty…

While waiting for more decisions on the subject, be careful before acting and contact us as needed