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Proposed Ordinance Would Let Chicagoans Rescue Dogs Left In Hot Cars

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 27, 2017 10:22PM

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It's already illegal (not to mention blood-curdlingly immoral) to leave a pet alone in the car exposed to extreme temperatures in Illinois. But a newly proposed ordinance would go one step further—not only imposing steep fines (up to $1,000) for those with the gall to leave pups inside parked cars on hot days with the windows up—but also allowing Chicagoans to set endangered pups free (even by cracking a window, if absolutely necessary) if the owner can't be found.

The ordinance, proposed on Wednesday by Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), would allow "any person, animal control officer or law enforcement officer who reasonably believes” an animal is at risk "shall have authority to enter... by any reasonable means under the circumstances." A "reasonable effort to locate" the owner must first be made.

So the obvious question is, does that mean breaking a car window would be allowed? If that's the only way to get inside, yes it does, Villegas said, according to the Tribune.

But there's also a civil component, aside from the legal question, which the alderman still hopes to address. Villages reportedly said that he plans to propose an additional ordinance later this year—one he hashes out details with emergency responders—that would prevent people who break a window from being exposed to a lawsuit—something that Wednesday's proposed ordinance doesn't address.

Seventeen states have legislation that lets bystanders rescue dogs without worry of being sued, Villegas said, according to the Sun-Times. For all the good doggos in Chicago, here's hoping for 18.