Cook’s bill protecting citizens who rescue animals from hot cars heads to the Senate

Posted by: Devan Strebing  | Tuesday, February 14, 2017

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 14, 2017) — The House of Representatives recently voted in support of State Rep. Tony Cook’s (R-Cicero) bill that would provide protections to those who rescue animals left unattended in hot cars.

Currently, Indiana is one of 27 states that does not have any law protecting citizens who rescue pets 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.

“There are about 13,600 community animal shelters and control agencies nationwide and they receive at least one to two calls per day reporting pets left in hot cars,” Cook said. “That does not include the number of 911 calls that police departments receive across the country. I hear of these stories and I want to help people who remove pets from these careless situations.”

According to the director of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, there were 269 calls received for dogs being left in vehicles from May through Sept., 2016. In addition, nearly half of the animal-neglect calls were in response to animals left inside a car. The average interior temperature of these vehicles were between 90 and 130 degrees, and an officer’s average response time ranged from five to 20 minutes.

With Cook’s proposal, people who rescue an animal from a vehicle would be required to first notify law enforcement and could only use a reasonable amount of force to remove the animal. Those individuals would also be responsible for waiting with the pet until an officer arrives on the scene.

Cook’s bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. For information on Cook’s bill, 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.