By Benjamin Yount
Illinois News Network
You hear the warning every summer, don’t leave your dog in a hot car. But the Illinois State Police have a new warning about trying to rescue those hot dogs: don’t break into a car to save it.
Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Jason Bradley said this is the time of years when people get very concerned about animals left inside cars.
Bradley said leaving a dog in a hot car can be a crime. But it is absolutely a crime for someone to break a car’s window, regardless of why.
“The best course of action if you believe there is an animal that is the victim of being exposed to prolonged heat and is in danger of death or serious injury, is to call the police,” Bradley said.
Illinois does not have a Good Samaritan law to protect people who want to rescue an animal themselves.
“There are three organizations that are legally allowed to break a car’s window or cause damage to a vehicle in order to rescue the animal,” Bradley explained. “Those are animal control organizations, law enforcement, or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.”
Bradley said Illinois has a humane care law that makes it a crime to leave animals in the extreme heat or cold, but you have to prove an animal is in real danger to act. He says just seeing a dog in a hot car isn’t enough.
Leaving a dog in a hot car can be a misdemeanor crime, but Bradley said breaking into a car certainly is a misdemeanor.