Man Facing Criminal Damages After Breaking Window To Save Dog Left In Car

Dogs in hot cars legislation SB215

A would-be Good Samaritan is now facing criminal charges after breaking into a car in an attempt to save two dogs left in hot car.

Good Samaritan Richard Hill was leaving Walmart in Parma Ohio when he noticed several people were standing around a car concerned about the two dogs inside.  It was about 78 degrees outside of the car at this time which means the temps inside a vehicle can soar to well above 100 degrees.

According to local news source WKYC 3 in Ohio, Hill claims that one bystander called 911 while another went inside Walmart to locate the vehicle's owner to come outside.

Hill didn't wait however, and sprung into action grabbing a hammer from his contracting van breaking the window to rescue the dog before police arrived and before the owner was located.

Hill was unaware but according to surveillance video the dogs had only been left in the car for eight minutes and police sited him for criminal charges upon surveying the scene.

Senate Bill 215, also known in Ohio as the Hot Car legislation was passed in order to protect a Good Samaritan such as Hill who find a child or pet locked inside a hot vehicle, allowing them to forcibly intervene prior to emergency personnel arriving without fear of litigation.

"Even with me and two other people tapping on the window, trying to get him to move and do something, he would not move," Hill told Channel 19, describing one of the dogs. "The officer I could tell was already upset with me. He asked me what I was doing, what I did. I explained the situation, and he told me that I should've waited on him."

Hill's citation sends a dangerous message to other bystanders that according to Sargent Dan Ciryak of the Parma Police Department that you must first be clear if it's a matter of life and death.  Ciryak said of  Hill's citation: "in this case we’re not sure this was a matter of life and death." 

Ciryak also noted that the car's sunroof was open and felt that  Hill didn't wait long enough to give the owner a chance to respond or law enforcement. 

"There was actually 4 minutes from time of call to the time officer had arrived there. It’s a case by case basis so it’s hard to determine and I think you just need to use good judgement,"

However there is nothing in the Ohio "Hot Car" law that states that Good Samaritans must wait a certain amount of time and do nothing before police or the owner of the vehicle arrives.

The owner of the car and dogs was not cited and Hill plans on fighting the charges.