Breaking a car window is illegal in Canada

Shawna O'Neill, Special to TC Media
Breaking a car window is illegal in Canada
Dogs have a limited ability to sweat

ONTARIO, Canada – If you see an unsupervised pet in a vehicle this summer, the Ontario SPCA (OSPCA) recommends calling 911 or 310-SPCA (7722).

“In Canada, it is illegal to break a window,” said Melissa Kosowan, Acting Associate Director of Communications with the OSPCA. “It is still property damage, and anyone can still be held liable for damages.”

This law applies to everyone, including police and SPCA officers. Although they are trained to know when it is necessary to break a window or force entry, they will be held accountable if it determined that the action wasn’t required.

The OSPCA encourages never leaving an animal in a car unattended, even with the air conditioning running. The OSPCA has encountered cases in which animals have died as a result of faulty air conditioning systems. Similarly, when a vehicle is parked in the shade with windows down, it can still reach dangerous temperatures on a mild day.

A dog’s body temperature is typically 39 degrees Celsius and it can only be 41 degrees Celsius for a short time before death or brain damage occur. Dogs have a limited ability to sweat, so they are not equipped to survive in prolonged, warm temperatures.

The OSPCA has started a hashtag, #nohotpets, on social media to spread awareness. To file a complaint about animal cruelty, call the SPCA number listed above or email

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