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Criminal Immunity for Good Samaritans Rescuing Pets from Hot Cars

On May 1, 2017, Governor Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1085 into law. The act will go into effect on July 1, 2017, and provides criminal immunity to anyone who breaks into a hot car to rescue a domestic animal. Although in order for criminal immunity to be ensured, several conditions must first be met. The requirements are as follows:

The individual must reasonably believe the animal is in imminent danger; they are required to notify law enforcement before breaking into the car; they can only use a reasonable amount of force to remove the animal; and they must stay with the animal at the scene until police arrive.

Individuals who rescue domestic animals and meet these requirements are not necessarily immune from civil liability for vehicle damage, though. House Enrolled Act 1085 requires the rescuer to cover half the costs to repair any damage to the vehicle, unless the vehicle owner agrees to cover the payment for damages in full.