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People Could Break Into Hot Cars To Help Pets, Children Under Bill

Legislation Would Require Someone To Dial 911 Before Intervening


People who see children or pets left unattended in vehicles would be allowed to break in to get them out under a measure moving through the state Legislature.

State Rep. Todd Ohnstad, D-Kenosha, said the hope is that his plan will save lives by encouraging people to help children or pets who are locked in hot cars.

“We think that this takes that couple seconds away from somebody who’s thinking about whether or not they should do something,” he said.

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Under Ohnstad’s bill, someone who sees a child or pet in locked in a car would have to first dial 911. But after that, they would be free to break into the vehicle without fear of being sued if they think it’s necessary.

Ohnstad said leaving children in cars is a serious problem. A San Jose State University study found that 24 children left in cars died from heatstroke this year.

The bill has bipartisan support and passed the Assembly last week.