NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is reminding you about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars.

Even with the windows cracked, it only takes minutes for a car to heat up, potentially putting your pet’s life on the line. Plus, it is illegal to break someone’s car window, even if you are attempting to save an animal.

Jason Minson reached out to 10 On Your Side after breaking a car window to save a dog. He says no one should have to choose between saving a helpless animal and going to jail. He’s hoping sharing this story can spark change and create a good samaritan law in Virginia.

Minson was working in Norfolk last week when he saw dog locked inside of a car. It was 80 degrees outside and the windows were barely cracked.

He called 911. Dispatch said they were sending animal control, but Minson wanted to do more.

“I asked if I could bust the window out to go ahead and get the dog out of the car, because you know it was really hot, and they said no. If I did, I could be arrested and charged with breaking and entering,” he said.

So Minson waited, giving the dog water through the space in the window.  He said, “It kind of perked him up a little bit, but immediately he went downhill again.”

Animal control arrived and the doors still would not budge.

Minson said, “I looked over and the dog was laying back down on the floor.  It wasn’t panting as fast or as heavy anymore, so I knew it was going downhill quick and I finally just kind of lost my temper and I wasn’t going to watch that dog die, so I took it upon myself to bust the window out and I was like ‘if they want to arrest me for it, they can, but I’m not going to watch this dog die’.”

He wasn’t arrested, but he wishes he didn’t have to make that choice.

“It was tough watching it,” Minson said. “My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”

That’s why he’s asking for help from lawmakers and the community, hoping to create a “good Samaritan” law that lets people intervene. 

“I don’t want people to have to worry about that. I want them to be able to do what needs to be done,” said Minson. “No animal should have to die that way.”

Minson says the dog is recovering at the Norfolk Animal Care Center. Its owner was issued a summons and will be in court later this month.