Committee approves Cook’s bill protecting those helping animals left in hot cars

Posted by: Devan Strebing  | Monday, February 6, 2017 4:30 pm

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 6, 2017) — The House Committee on Judiciary today passed State Rep. Tony Cook’s (R-Cicero) proposal that would provide protections to those who rescue animals left unattended in hot vehicles.

House Bill 1085 would provide immunity from civil liability for property damage resulting from a person’s forcible entry to remove a domestic animal in these situations. The person must first notify the police before entering the vehicle, and only use a reasonable amount of action to get the animal out. Those individuals would then be required to wait with the animal until law enforcement arrives.

“Indiana is one of 27 states that does not have a law that protects citizens who rescue animals left in a hot car,” Cook said. “I have seen many news reports of incidents of terrible suffering by unattended animals, and many times death occurs. Animal shelters and control agencies across the U.S. receive at least one or two calls a day. There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide — that’s 13,600 to 27,200 dogs being left in hot cars each day. That’s not including all the 911 calls to the police departments across the country. I have compassion for animals placed in these neglectful situations and I want to prevent other tragedies.”

According to Cook, the interior temperature of a vehicle can reach up to 116 degrees within an hour if it is as low as 72 degrees outside. Police may not always be able to respond in time and pets can suffer permanent organ damage if left inside a hot car.

This bill would apply to domestic, household pets and does not include livestock. Indiana does not currently have any laws regarding pets in cars, but Marion County has an ordinance that forbids animals from being left outside when the temperature is 90 degrees or higher. Violators could face fines and repeat offenders could have the animal removed from their care.

House Bill 1085 now moves to the House floor for further consideration. For more information, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

A high-resolution photo of Cook can be downloaded by clicking here.