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Protections for rescuing animals from hot cars becomes law

Posted: 7:52 AM, May 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-01 18:57:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you see a dog trapped in a car on a hot summer’s day, you have some additional protections under the law when it comes to breaking the window.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill into law that provides immunity to certain people who see an animal locked inside a hot car.

House Enrolled Act 1085 gives full civil liability immunity to police, firefighters, public safety workers, emergency responders, animal control officers, veterinarians, and veterinary assistants.

MORE | Read the full bill here

Essentially, this means if they break a window to free a dog or cat they perceive is in danger, they will likely not have to pay for the damages to the vehicle.

However, the legislation says everyone else who breaks a window to save a domestic animal must pay 50 percent of the cost of the damage, unless waived by the owner of the car.

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House Enrolled Act says the Good Samaritan may receive liability immunity from criminal or other civil actions if certain conditions are met:

  • "(1) A domestic animal must be present in the enclosed space of the motor vehicle, and the person must reasonably believe that the domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily harm if the domestic animal remains in the motor vehicle.
  • (2) The person must determine that:
  • (A) the motor vehicle is locked; and
  • (B) forcible entry of the motor vehicle is necessary to remove the domestic animal from the motor vehicle.
  • (3) The person must call telephone number 911 or otherwise attempt to contact:
  • (A) a law enforcement officer;
  • (B) a firefighter;
  • (C) an animal control officer; or
  • (D) another emergency responder; before the person forcibly enters the motor vehicle.
  • (4) The person must use no more force than is reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the domestic animal from the motor vehicle.
  • (5) The person must remain with the domestic animal until a law enforcement officer,firefighter,animal control officer, or other emergency responder arrives at the scene."

The law takes effect July 1, 2017.