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Bill that would make it legal to rescue pets from hot cars advances

Posted at 4:11 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 12:37:18-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- A bill that would make it legal to rescue a pet from a car during extreme weather conditions is one step closer to becoming law.

HB 1085, proposed by State. Rep. Tony Cook (R), would give people immunity from prosecution for rescuing pets from hot or cold vehicles.

The bill passed a House committee on Monday with a couple of minor changes to the wording.

As it stands now, a person can be sued for forcing their way into a car to rescue an animal from extreme conditions.

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If HB 1085 becomes law, a person would legally be allowed to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal trapped in a car – as long as that rescue meets certain conditions. 

Those conditions are:

  • The animal must be considered a pet, and not livestock. There is a long list of "livestock" animals under Indiana law, like cattle, swine, sheep, horses, goats, poultry bison and rabbits.
  • You must believe the animal is in imminent danger if it stays in the vehicle. This could be from extremely hot temperatures or extremely cold temperatures.
  • The door must be locked and forcing your way into the vehicle is the only way to get the animal out.
  • You call 911 or attempt to contact a police officer, firefighter, animal control officer or emergency responder before forcing your way into the vehicle.
  • You don't use any more force than necessary to enter the vehicle and get the animal out.
  • You stay with the animal until authorities arrive.

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The section that would have allowed for charges to be filed against a person for leaving their pet in a vehicle had to be removed before the House committee passed the bill.