(CBS) — Some Chicago aldermen have introduced an ordinance that would legally protect people who break into vehicles when animals inside are in danger because of extreme temperatures.

Civilians and first-responders would get safe harbor if they freed an animal in danger of expiring from extreme hot or cold conditions, provided the Good Samaritan made a “reasonable” effort to track down the owner.  People trying to help the animal could use “reasonable means” to get into the motor vehicle in which the pet is trapped, according to a measure filed with the City Clerk.

Chief sponsor Gilbert Villegas, the council’s 36th Ward representative, said in a Facebook post this week animal-cruelty laws already bar people from leaving animals in vehicles during extreme hot or cold weather. But he said he wants to make sure Good Samaritans don’t get in trouble if they intervene.

“The process of saving the life of the dog can lead to charges against the person trying to save the day. That can mean private citizens, Police Officers or Fire Fighters,” he said.

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