CHICAGO (CBS) — The head of a well-known local wildlife center has called on state lawmakers to pass a “Good Samaritan” law to deal with people who want to transport injured or orphaned animals to rehabilitation centers like hers.

A trial has been scheduled in LaSalle County later this month, for a man accused of breaking the law by taking two injured baby bald eagles to a wildlife center.

Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center executive director Dawn Keller said that’s just one example of why a Good Samaritan law is needed.

Keller said, under current Illinois law, even if you just picked up an injured or sick wild animal and took it to a center like Flint Creek, you could face arrest. She said, in most cases, that doesn’t happen, but it could.

“There is a Good Samaritan law on the federal level, but in Illinois there is not one, and because Illinois is more restrictive, Illinois law in this regard rules,” she said.

Keller said, without the help of Steve Patterson of downstate Oglesby in 2013, those two eaglets most certainly would have died.

Patterson has amassed $20,000 in legal bills so far for that small gesture, according to Keller. She said this will be his second trial. His first ended in a hung jury. He faces possible fines and jail time, if convicted.

“Even though we have a large group of volunteers that help us with rescue, we still don’t have the resources to pick up every injured animal that needs our help,” she said. “So, without protection for individuals, there would be a large number of animals – we believe – that wouldn’t get appropriate care.”

Still, she pointed out, many people do risk arrest.

Keller said the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center takes in 1,500 to 1,800 animals a year. Most of them are brought to the center by volunteers, even though the people who rescued them could be arrested.