The state's highest court has ruled that police and animal control officers can enter a home without a warrant if an animal requires emergency care.
Animal rights workers are calling it a victory for the very creatures they're sworn to protect.
Dogs trapped in hot cars, or tied up in abandoned homes or businesses may be more common than you think.
"It's sadly not infrequent," said Pam Peebles, executive director of Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Shelter.
But, the ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court may save animal lives.
It's a provision normally only applied to people in need and means officers have more liberties to enter homes in emergency circumstances to save animals.
Animal lovers like Peebles call it a win.
"Sounds like the state's highest court ruled in favor of the animals," she said.
It all stemmed from a sad situation out of Lynn, MA.
A neighbor saw two dead dogs in a nearby yard, and heard desperate cries from a third animal starving inside.
Officers had to act fast to save the dog and pulled it out without a warrant.
Peebles says all too often, her animal control officers are met with similar circumstances.
"There are times that we've made decisions to pull animals out of those backyards or abandoned businesses," she said.
Now her officers can make those decisions without wasting any time waiting and wondering how long a dog in a similar circumstance has left to survive.
"This allows us to perhaps have a little less fear of repercussions when we're confident we're doing the right thing to save an animal."
Copyright 2014 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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