Man breaks window to help dogs in hot car; cited for damage

Associated Press - and News Journal

PARMA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who says he broke a window to rescue two dogs locked in a hot car has been given a citation charging him with criminal damaging.

Richard Hill was in a parking lot in the Cleveland suburb of Parma when he saw the dogs and grabbed a hammer from his van to break the car window.

Parma police say officers arrived four minutes after receiving a 911 call Saturday about the dogs and two minutes after Hill broke the window.

Police Sgt. Dan Ciryak says he believes Hill’s heart was in the right place, but “he should have waited a little more.”

Police say it was 78 degrees outside.

Hill says he didn’t know how long it would take police to arrive. He says he’ll fight the charge.

Windows down: A help?

Contrary to what people might think, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a parked car, and leaving your pet in the vehicle with it is running and air conditioner on is still not advised.

Unlike humans, dogs do not have the ability to sweat and pant to eliminate heat from the body.

When faced with intense heat, panting is not enough and the animal’s body temperature rises, creating a dangerous situation that could be fatal.

Helping kids and pets

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 215 into law in 2016 to help protect both babies and pets.

According to, “There are certain criteria that must be met under this law in order for the individual rescuing the animal or child to be granted immunity from civil liability for damages to the vehicle, including the following:

• The person must first determine that all of the vehicle doors are locked and that the child or animal is in danger or is suffering harm. If necessary, the individual should also call for emergency help.

• The person must not use any more force than necessary in order to gain entry to the vehicle to save the child or animal. Excessive force and resulting damages to the car are not protected under this law.

• The person must leave a note containing the following information on the person’s windshield: Contact information; the reason forcible entry to the vehicle was made; the location of the child or the animal that was rescued; and, the fact that authorities have been notified.

• Once the animal or child has been removed from the vehicle, and the note has been left on the vehicle’s windshield, the rescuer must remain with the minor or animal in a safe location that is out of the elements but reasonably close to the vehicle while waiting for law enforcement or emergency responders to arrive on the scene.”

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