ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The City of Odessa will begin enforcing a new city ordinance regarding people and animals left in parked cars.
As the days get hotter, law enforcement is working to prevent this from causing injuries or even deaths.
The ordinance states it is unlawful for the owner of an animal to leave it in a parked or standing car that will endanger the animal's health and safety. This includes, heat, cold, lack of food or water.
Any animal control or police officer who finds an animal in such conditions is authorized to use reasonable force to remove the animal from the car. Animals taken from an endangering situation will be transported to the animal control shelter.
A note will be left on the vehicle with time, date, officer's name and the address and phone number of the animal shelter. The owner will have to pay all charges and fees before the animal is returned.
Those same rules apply to any children left in hot cars.
If you see a child in this situation, the Odessa Police Department tells us you will be justified in using force to remove the child from the vehicle.
Although criminal charges can't be filed for breaking a window, the car's owner can still sue in civil court. So if you are not sure of the situation, it's best to call police and get help from and officer.
For any civilian breaking windows to get animals out, Odessa police said they deal with them on a case-by-case basis. They recommend you also contact police to be on the safe side.