A man from Athens, Georgia saved a dog from overheating in a hot vehicle. Most of the time, when people try to help out a dog locked in a car, they’re seen as heroes. However this time, Michael Hammons isn’t facing a hero’s welcome, but is facing criminal charges for his efforts.
According to Hammons, he decided to bust out the car window because, “I heard someone say there was a dog in distress in a hot car.”
Hammons says he didn’t really think about it. When the Desert Storm vet heard someone needed help, he jumped to action almost immediately. Someone actually did call the police already, but Hammons was apparently not made aware of that.
An eyewitness was quoted as saying, “He says we can’t let this dog die, and he starts smashing windows.”
Hammons had grabbed one of the legs off of his wife’s wheelchair, and took it to the window of the vehicle. He did manage to free the dog, but wasn’t exactly greeted warmly by arriving police officers, and the owner of the vehicle wasn’t thrilled about his actions either.
When asked what was going through his mind, Hammons said, “I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction. I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”
When the owner of the vehicle was informed what had gone one, she was described as “furious.” She demanded that officers take action, and Hammons was arrested.
When asked if Hammons would have been arrested for his actions had the vehicle owner not demanded he be charged, Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems said he wouldn’t have been.
“No,” said Chief Deputy Weems. “We would not have made those charges on our own. The deputies on scene say the owner of the dog and the car were very insistent that he be charged with criminal trespassing.”
When interviewed, the vehicle owner told police that she hadn’t been out of the car for a total of five minutes before Hammons took matters into his own hands.
“It wasn’t just five minutes like the lady stated, it was a lot longer,” Hammons said. “I personally felt the heat in the car. I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress.”
The vehicle owner did not comment to any news stations, nor was she reachable for comment. She was cited by police for leaving the dog in the car. It was roughly 80 degrees out that day, so inside that car it was over 100. Even with windows left open ever so slightly as they were claimed to be.
“If it is 80 degrees outside, within 30 minutes it will be 114 degrees inside a vehicle. Even with the windows cracked,” said Weems.
Weems also said that there isn’t any surveillance video of the vehicle owner arriving in the parking lot, nor anything showing exactly how long she was away from the vehicle before Hammons busted into it. This could make any charges she may face a bit difficult to prove in court.
A person is allowed to break into a vehicle by smashing out the window to save a human life in Georgia. However, there’s no such law protecting our furry family members the same way. Animal activists in Georgia are fighting to get our pets covered under that same law, too.