Ohio Man Given Ticket For Rescuing Dogs From Hot Car

Despite a law that protects civilians from liability should they break into cars to rescue pets, an Ohio man has received a criminal citation for smashing a car window to rescue two dogs.


Richard Hill saw a car with two dogs in it on a hot July day and worried for the safety of the dogs. Knowing that temperatures can become deadly for dogs quickly, he thought he was a good citizen and champion for the dogs when he decided to break the car window to rescue the dogs.


He said that the small dog looked to be a baby, and the larger dog was maybe two-years-old. Passerbys who also saw the dogs went into the Walmart that was close by to see if they could find the owner and one called the police.


Related: New ‘Hot Dog In Car’ Law Will Grant First Responders Immunity


Hill was worried that the dogs would suffer waiting, though, so he took a hammer from his truck and smashed the window to let the dogs out and get them some water. Passerbys helped give the water, and the police arrived to see the dogs out and the window was broken. He believed it was necessary to save them.


The officer disagreed, however. Hill said that he thought that he had the legal right to break in based on Ohio law that said citizens had the right to break into cars provided the police were called and he’d tried to find the owners.


The officer felt differently, though, telling Hill he should have waited on the police regardless and issued him a citation. The owners of the dogs received no citation for leaving them on such a hot day and say that the sunroof was wide open.


Hill says that despite the law being on his side, getting the ticket wouldn’t stop him from doing it again, though he’d take pictures or videos next time to prove there was no way to rescue the dogs otherwise.


Related: Will Michigan Pet Owners Face Jail for Leaving Pets in Hot Car?


He told the police he was just trying to help the dogs, and had no reason to break the window otherwise, but the Parma, Ohio police say they have proof the ticket was warranted and Hill acted impulsively. They say that Hill only waited six minutes, and can defend himself and his actions in court.


Meanwhile, in Australia, the RSPCA sponsors the “Just Six Minutes” campaign that warns pet owners of the dangers that can happen to pets left in cars, in ‘just six minutes.’ The reality is, the law doesn’t state that the civilian has to wait for the police to come, and we hope that the judge in Hill’s case recognizes the injustice.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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