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Lawmaker proposes law to let people rescue dogs from hot cars

By Benjamin Yount 
Illinois News Network

Leaving a dog inside your car in the summer could soon mean a broken window in Illinois.

Illinois is one of 24 states without a Good Samaritan law that allows people to rescue pets from hot cars. But that could change by the summer.

State Rep. David Olsen, R-Downers Grove, is pushing a plan to allow people to bust out a car window to rescue a hot dog from a hot car and avoid any criminal liability.

Olsen said the idea is to let people help.

“If people act in good faith, in consultation with law enforcement,” Olsen said Wednesday. “This legislation is reasonable. It doesn’t allow for random acts of violence or criminal damage to property.”

Olsen said his legislation requires that people call the police before breaking a window, and then to wait with the dog at the car until police arrive.

“We’re looking to save animals and not make somebody liable for a lot of money, when they are just trying to be a Good Samaritan and help out,” Olsen said.

Olsen’s legislation comes after the Illinois News Network reported on Illinois’ law regarding hot dogs in cars last summer. The state does not have a Good Samaritan law to protect people who want to rescue an animal themselves.

Olsen admits hot dogs are not as important as Illinois’ pension crisis, but he adds that animal laws are more real to a lot of people in the state.

“I wish every plan that I introduced got this much enthusiasm, when we’re talking about pension reform, or saving money for the state of Illinois and making our state more fiscally responsible,” Olsen said. “I’d hope that would evoke the same emotions. But ultimately, people have such a strong connection with their dogs, their cats, their pets. And that emotional connection is really, really important.”

Olsen’s legislation is HB 4191. It has not yet been assigned a hearing in Springfield.

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