Proposal would legalize car break-ins to save people, pets

LINCOLN –  A public hearing has been scheduled Monday on a Lincoln proposal that would offer legal protection to people who break vehicle windows to save children or animals from dangerous heat.

The proposal is called “Destruction of Property – Affirmative Defense,” and would let people destruct property if they have reason to believe entry is necessary to remove a child or animal from imminent danger.

According to the ordinance, the person must also make an effort to find the vehicle’s operator and call animal control or 911 first.

Authorities say nearly 50 children in the U.S. have died this year after being left in hot vehicles, but none in Lincoln in recent years.

Local animal control manager Steve Beal says no pet has died of heat exposure from being left in a vehicle this year, but Lincoln recorded one such dog death last year.

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