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Oscar Nominees' Gift Bags Include a Little Hammer to Smash Car Windows

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 4/25/2021 Laura Sky Brown
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  • Every year, nominees in the top categories at the Academy Awards get goody bags full of pricey luxuries, with this year's swag bag valued at more than $200,000.
  • In among the lotions and vacation vouchers is a little hammer that the celebs are invited to use to free overheated pets from inside other people's cars. It's courtesy of the animal-rights group PETA.
  • The hammer sits on a keychain that says:"The car is insured—the dog is irreplaceable."

At tonight's Academy Awards broadcast, you won't get to see the gift bags that are handed out to nominees in the top categories—but they're the stuff of legend anyway. This year's collection of over-the-top luxury items is valued at more than $200,000, the New York Times reports. One of the less expensive products it contains, however, is a small but sturdy hammer meant to smash car windows.

The hammer Oscar nominees will get tonight. © PETA The hammer Oscar nominees will get tonight.

The gift hammers are labeled with a keychain that reads,"The car is insured—the dog is irreplaceable," and the idea is that if, say, Frances McDormand or Gary Oldman were to spot a dog sweltering in a locked car, they should use it to smash the window and get the animal free. PETA already sells hammers for this purpose, albeit in a clunkier, less streamlined design.

Stars beware: at least one would-be dog saver has been cited for just such an act of Good Samaritanism. In 2018, Richard Hill of Parma, Ohio, was leaving a Wal-mart store when he saw a commotion around a parked Audi and heard people saying two dogs were trapped inside a hot car."I decided to grab a hammer and went ahead and broke the window," Hill told Fox 8. Police and the car's owner, who claimed to have been gone only a few minutes, disagreed that the window needed breaking.

a person and a dog sitting on top of a car: Imagine Frances McDormand bashing a window to free an overheated bull terrier. A hammer comes in the goody bag, worth $200,000, given to Academy Award nominees. © PETA via YouTube Imagine Frances McDormand bashing a window to free an overheated bull terrier. A hammer comes in the goody bag, worth $200,000, given to Academy Award nominees.
Lifehammer Brand Safety Hammer - The Original Emergency Escape and Rescue Tool with Seatbelt Cutter, Made in The Netherlands © amazon.com Lifehammer Brand Safety Hammer - The Original Emergency Escape and Rescue Tool with Seatbelt Cutter, Made in The Netherlands

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So maybe before you pull out a hammer and break a car window, check out your state's regulations about rescuing dogs on this handy list from Michigan State University. It lists the 31 states where it's illegal to leave an animal in a vehicle under dangerous conditions—including warm weather. It also names the states where a person trying to save an endangered animal from a vehicle is likely to be immune from prosecution for it.

Good news for the Oscar-nominated: California is one such state.

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