Rescuing an animal from hot car in Indiana could cost rescuer money

Indiana Statehouse. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There are more protections for those who rescue animals from hot cars in Indiana, but they could be on the hook for damages.

Animal control officers in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne told lawmakers they each received 250 calls for animals in hot cars last summer. Half of the United States has some type of rescuing animals in hot cars law.

On Friday, Indiana lawmakers pushed to become the 26th state. The House and Senate each passed a bill Friday, but there are changes from the first draft.

At first, the bill gave people immunity to rescue animals. That’s not the case anymore.

The animal must appear in distress, and 911 must be called first. If a rescuer breaks a window, they could be on the hook for half the cost. Lawmakers explained why they added the window cost, and some even had some fun with presenting the bill.

“Who, who, who let the dogs out,” State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) said. “I would say that, you, you, you could let the dogs out if under this conference committee report you were willing to pay half the cost of breaking a window.”

“The overzealous,” State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) said. “The person who might use it as a defense to break and enter a car to steal and thieve. Those were the type of things that they were interested in and trying to avert.”

The House originally wanted to give people immunity. The Senate pushed for making someone cover the entire cost of the window.

Ultimately, they compromised at the 50 percent mark. So, there’s the possibility that if you break a window you could be on the hook for 50 percent of the cost of the damage. The bill will now head to the governor’s desk.

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