Good Samaritans in Indiana who rescue pets from hot cars are now protected under law.
House Enrolled Act 1085, signed by Governor Eric Holcomb on May 1, provides criminal immunity to anyone who breaks into a hot car in order to rescue a companion animal. The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1.
In order to receive protection under the new law, good Samaritans’ actions must meet several conditions: they must notify law enforcement prior to entering the car, they must reasonably believe the animal is in in imminent danger, they cannot exceed a reasonable amount of force in retrieving the animal, and they must remain on the premises with the animal until law enforcement arrives on the scene.
While the law does provide good Samaritan rescuers with criminal immunity, it does not spare them from civil liability. Under the law, a good Samaritan who breaks into a car to rescue an animal is responsible for half the vehicle repair costs unless the vehicle owner agrees to cover the entire expense.
The director of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control reports that between May 1 – September 30, 2016, there were 269 calls about dogs left in cars. The average interior temperature of these cars ranged from 90-130 degrees, and law enforcement response time was between five and 20 minutes.
Hopefully, this new law will spare innocent lives and saddle irresponsible pet owners with costly repair fees and a hefty dose of public shame.
Remember, it is NEVER ok to leave your pet in a hot car, even if just briefly. If there’s any question about the temperature, leave your pets at home.
Would you know what to do if you saw an animal trapped in a hot car? Find out here.
What do you think of Indiana’s new good Samaritan pet rescue law? Let us know in the comments section below.
READ MORE: What to Do If You See a Dog in a Hot Car
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