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Proposed bill protects first responders if they break car window to rescue animal

Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 19:19:10-05

HOPEWELL, Va. -- A bill that would protect first responders from being sued if they have to break a car window to rescue an animal from a hot car, is making its way through the General Assembly.

Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane said he's glad a bill like this was proposed to protect first responders and his officers.

"We broke the window to save the dog and that was it," said Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane.

Hot car 2

The dog incident took place years ago, when Chief Keohane was then a Richmond Police Sergeant. "At that point I did not have any other choice, based on a 95 degree day," he said.

Senator Kenneth Alexander (Senate District 5) sponsored the bill at the request of the Norfolk SPCA.

The bill if passed into law, will make first responders who have to break into a car to save an animal, immune from liability for damage to the car or injury to the animal.

"That would give us that added protection of not being able to sue us for us doing the right thing," Chief Keohane explained.

The Police Chief isn't alone, Hopewell Fire Battalion Chief Ronnie Ellis agrees saying "It's real reassuring to know we will be covered in any incident that we have."

Rob Blizzard with the Norfolk SPCA tells CBS 6 they are pleased the bill is moving through the General Assembly and hopes one day it will also expand to Good Samaritans.