The weather is warming up, and with Summer around the corner, there's never a shortage of news stories about irresponsible people leaving their pets in the car. Indiana laws around leaving pets in the car have recently changed, and Evansville Police Department want to make sure we are aware, so if we do happen to see a pet stuck in a car, we know the correct process. 

Dog waiting for his owner

EPD had this to say on their Facebook page:

Clarification on why the law was passed---
This law gives people civil and criminal liability protections they did not have before this law was passed. Prior to this law, you could have been sued for the entire repair cost and could potentially have been charged with criminal mischief.


New Indiana law addresses legal and civil issues for people who forcibly enter a locked vehicle to remove an animal---

On April 26th, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Indiana House Bill 1085 into law. The law addresses legal and civil issues for civilians who forcibly enter a vehicle to remove a domestic animal. There are several key points to this law that people need to be aware of before taking any action.
----The animal must be a domestic animal as defined by Indiana statute
----You must feel the animal is imminent danger of serious bodily injury (The law does not specify hot or cold temps)
----You MUST call 911 or contact a law enforcement officer, animal control officer, a firefighter, or other emergency responder BEFORE you forcibly enter the vehicle
----You will be responsible for 50% of the cost to repair damage that you cause
----You MUST only use the amount of force reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle
----You MUST remain with the animal until one of the previously listed public safety officials arrive
----You will be immune from criminal liability if you followed the law
----The owner of the animal is immune from civil liability if you are injured by an animal after you forcibly enter a vehicle
----Public safety officials and certain veterinary professionals are immune from all criminal and civil liability

If you are concerned about an animal that has been left in a car in the city of Evansville, we recommend that you call 911 and wait for a public safety official to arrive. Doing so will protect you from all potential liabilities. If you feel you can't wait, please follow the listed guidelines to ensure you receive the protections provided by the new law.

To view the final version of House Enrolled Act 1085, visit

And if you do end up going somewhere on a hot Summer day, maybe it's best to just leave the dog at home if they can't go inside with you.

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