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‘Pet Pals TV’: Protecting pets from hot cars

Pet Pals TV: Keeping animals safe in the summer heat

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As summer approaches and temperatures rise, concerns about pet safety in hot cars become more pressing.

On the latest “Pet Pals TV,” Patty Spitler, host of “Pet Pals TV” and Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller joined News 8 at Daybreak to shed light on the legal protections for animals and responsibilities for those who take action in such situations.

Miller says that legislature has softened for those who try to rescue an animal in a hot car. “These vehicles can overheat quickly, causing significant distress to animals inside,” he added.

Here’s what to do if you see a distressed pet in a vehicle:

  • Call 911: This is the first step and is legally required. It alerts authorities to the situation and ensures you have legal backing for your actions.
  • Document the scene: If possible, take pictures or videos. This documentation can be crucial if there are any legal disputes later.
  • Use necessary force only: Only use the amount of force needed to rescue the animal. Excessive damage can lead to legal repercussions.
  • Stay at the scene: After rescuing the animal, remain at the scene until authorities arrive. This is also a legal requirement.

While these measures protect good samaritans from being sued or arrested, they must follow the proper protocol. Failing to do so can still result in legal consequences.

If they follow the protocols, then they are only responsible for half of the cost of damage repairs and are immune to criminal liability.

“Even with these protections, you might have to pay for the damage to the vehicle,” Miller said. “It’s about saving endangered animals, but there are still responsibilities involved.”

Modern vehicles, like Teslas, often have systems in place to keep pets cool and display messages indicating the air conditioning is on. However, it’s easy to overlook these features, leading to unnecessary interventions.

To avoid these situations altogether, Patty offered simple advice: “Leave your pet at home. Love them and leave them at home.”

Miller echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the laws are designed to protect both animals and those trying to help them. “You see an animal in a car in very hot weather, you don’t know what the temperature is inside. The safest bet is to leave pets at home.”

As summer heats up, remember to keep your pets safe and think twice before leaving them in the car.

For more information on the legal protections and responsibilities regarding pets in hot cars, visit the national Humane Society’s website or contact police.