A “Good Samaritan” bill recently passed through the Indiana House of Representatives that allows people to rescue dogs trapped in hot cars. Many other states already have a similar bill in place, and the Editorial Board is happy to see Indiana taking action.
Currently, people who try to rescue pets from cars can be charged with damage of private property, but this bill will let them do this legally.
The Editorial Board feels this is an important and beneficial bill. Hundreds of dogs die annually because their owners leave them in cars while they run errands, which is cruel and unjust. The Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control Center received 269 calls about dogs abandoned in cars from May 1 to September 30 in 2016. Temperatures in cars are much hotter than those outside. Eighty-six degrees outside can translate to up to 130 degrees inside the car in prolonged, direct sunlight.
This is extremely dangerous to dogs, essentially subjecting them to heat stroke. They can suffer from brain damage and die in only 15 minutes, so it is important that people can rescue them from these cruel situations.
The bill takes a lot of circumstances into consideration. People must call 911 before breaking into a car to rescue a dog. While this law will help a lot of pets, people should still proceed with caution. There is currently no legal precedent for what should happen if the rescued dog runs away or bites the person who rescues it. If the window is smashed, it could gravely injure the dog in the car. Therefore, the actions should be planned carefully, and it would be extremely beneficial for someone to help rescue the dog and not attempt to do it alone.
If you see a dog trapped in a hot car, there are still steps you can take before this bill is passed. Note the model, color and license plate number of the car so you can ask the store where the car is parked if you can use their intercom to notify the owner. If you cannot do this, call the police or local law enforcement. Whatever happens, for the sake of the dog, it is necessary to stay at the scene until it has been resolved and the dog is rescued. If the owner cannot be contacted, the authorities take too long and the dog’s life is in imminent danger., you can still attempt to rescue the dog. You must, however, have multiple witnesses who can attest to the urgency of the situation and you wait for authorities to arrive after you are done.
If this bill passes, many dogs will be rescued from potentially fatal situations. The Editorial Board is a strong proponent of the well-being and happiness of all dogs, so overall, this bill is great for keeping Indiana pets safe.