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Question of the day

Friday, Jan 12, 2018

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

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.

* The Question: Good idea or not? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Christopher - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    As a dog lover, yes, it’s a great idea.

  2. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    I can’t believe we need a law for this. If I see a car with a dog locked in it on a hot day, the owner will have more to worry about than a broken window.

  3. - Christopher - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    47th Ward is right, but, as the TV show “What Would You Do?” shows, sometimes people are hesistant to say or do anything.

  4. - Excessively Rabid - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    As long as you have to call the police first.

  5. - downstate commissioner - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    With an attitude like that 47th, we shouldn’t have child molesters, either. (I agree with you, incidentally) Voted yes, with some reservations. It might encourage some of the “not want to get involved” people to get involved…

  6. - Baggs McCoy - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    I voted a cautious no. Who decides the animal is in a hot car and in trouble. The devil is in the details. I have a dog and we sometimes go to the store. I leave him in the car for a short time and someone now can legally break my window. The problem is that there are some animal people that believe no dog should ever be left in the car for any reason at any temperature.

  7. - Gooner - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    After consultation with police? This one seems easy. Of course a person should be allowed to do so.

  8. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    I don’t really understand this law.

    1. If an animal (or worse a child) is locked in a hot car now and dying, I have a hard time believing it’s illegal now to smash the window (provided you are acting in good faith).

    2. The legislation seemingly requires one to call the cops prior to breaking the window and then wait with the dog for the police. So, if one breaks the window and then calls the fire department, they are in violation of the law?

  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Downstate Com, that’s a really poor analogy. Thanks for reaching deep to get to the bottom first. You win.

    But I’ll elaborate and type slower. In the absence of a law like this, if I break a car window to release a trapped animal, I might get arrested or sued. I would happily contest the charges/law suit and if possible, request a jury trial. I am confident I could explain my actions in a way that would lead to an acquittal.

    On the other hand, if this bill passes, there will be a checklist of steps that must be taken before my action could be justified. I don’t think we need a policy to proscribe the manner in which a helpless animal can be spared further harm. If the law requires me to notify law enforcement and wait, but I decide the situation warrants immediate action, this law ends up punishing the good Samaritan, not the moron who locked his dog in a hot car.

    It’s a bad idea to try to codify this. It’s another unnecessary law that will cause more harm than doing nothing.

  10. - Undiscovered country - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    As written this is too loosey goosey. It should be drafted as an affirmative defense to a criminal prosecution, not as an amorphous bar (good faith belief…it is a reasonable one) to a prosecution. Plus, name me one case where a person has been prosecuted for saving a pet. More unicorn legislation… stopping things that don’t exist.

  11. - DuPage - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    Might be better to call the police and let them open the car. They have special tools that can open most cars quickly. Also, sometimes dogs in cars are there to guard the car and would attack someone breaking in. I see that where a large dog barks and growls at anyone walking past.

  12. - Yiddishcowboy - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    I vote yes. However, why not call the police and then immediately thereafter break the window? It could take a bit for the police to arrive if they’re dealing with a higher priority matter. A dog could be a dead dog in the 20-30 mins it might take for an officer to arrive to the scene.

  13. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    I see the potential for the dog’s owner to return before the police get there, resulting in violence for the broken car window. People who leave a dog in a hot car are not exactly rational thinkers.

  14. - Blockage - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    As someone who isn’t cruel and ignorant, I vote yes.

  15. - FormerParatrooper - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    I vote Yes.

    I am with 47th, a broken window is the least of your worries.

    I also have a dog, spoiled as much as my Granddaughter and that is very spoiled.

    We could use a few more pet friendly establishments too. Lowe’s, Big R and Bass Pro are the only places by me I can take her into.

  16. - Yiddishcowboy - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    I’d also be concerned with civil liability….

  17. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    Voted no. Unless dog in obvious distress call police

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    I certainly encourage people to call law enforcement in these situations but perhaps we should leave the entry to vehicles to the professionals. Dog might get showered with broken glass and could run off, risking injury or death.

  19. - Ron - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    I voted yes and I don’t like dogs.

  20. - Border Bound - Friday, Jan 12, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Voted no. As a dog owner who takes both of them with me in the car regularly, I’m very sensitive to the temperature and will not take them when it’s too hot or too cold. But, if a law like this is passed and receives publicity, many well meaning people could think they have a license to break a window just because they see a dog in the car and, in their opinion, conditions are not right. Contrary to 47th Ward, break my window on a day when it’s perfectly fine for my dog to be in my car and you’ll have a lot more to worry about than being prosecuted for the damage.

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