Man Arrested for Saving Dog in Hot Car

This really makes me angry. I heard about this incident a few days ago on the news and in digging deeper found the following article from Gawker:

“This Saturday, an Army veteran in Athens, Georgia smashed the window of a hot car to free a dog in distress and was subsequently arrested for criminal trespassing, The NY Daily News reports.

According to police, the animal’s owner was furious [that] Desert Storm veteran Michael Hammons had broken the window of her Mustang and demanded he be charged.

Georgia Army Veteran breaks car window to save dog

“We didn’t want to charge him,” Chief Deputy Lee Weems told WAGA-TV, “but he told us he broke the windows and when you have a victim there saying she wants him charged, we had no other choice.”

Hammons was then arrested and the dog’s owner was issued a citation by animal control.

According to The Associated Press, Georgia state law allows bystanders to break windows to rescue children in distress but not pets. Nevertheless, Hammons says he would do it all again.

“I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter,” he told WAGA-TV. “Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog.” “

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Here is yet another instance in which we can see the glaring problems in current laws with regard to animals. It’s perfectly legal to break in the windows of a hot car to rescue a child but not so for an animal. What?? The laws on the books regarding animals are so in need of major overhauls.

I’m glad the woman in this incident at least got a citation. Maybe –and hopefully—she’ll never leave her dog in the car again during hot days. I was peripherally involved in a dog-in-a-hot-car situation last year. I was walking to my car in a store parking lot and noticed an Animal Control vehicle parked right behind a car, blocking it into its parking space, while the Animal Control officer was walking around the vehicle. Then I noticed a small dog in the car. A few minutes later the owner of the car came out and he unlocked his car and handed the dog over to the Animal Control officer, who proceeded to examine the dog’s condition. Thankfully the dog seemed to be okay. I couldn’t tell whether or not the man was given a citation but they did have a long conversation. Then animal control pulled off. I backed out of my parking space and yelled over to the man, “Do you need some water for your dog? I have a bottle of water here.” He said no. And then, very politely I added, “Please don’t do that again. It gets scorching hot in the cars.” He came back with “Mind your own fucking business.”

THAT pissed me off. I said “It IS my business. I’m an advocate for animals.”

He screamed, “So am I!”

I said “Well, you’re obviously not very good at it!” I probably added “Asshole” at the end of that comment, knowing me.

It just blows my mind the number of people who continue to leave dogs in hot cars. Are these people not aware of the consequences? Do they not understand just how hot it can get in a closed car, even with the windows cracked? Certainly there are broad and far-reaching public awareness campaigns that warn people about the dangers so where have these people been, living under rocks? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, what do you think of the news article and the man getting arrested for doing the right thing? I think he did the right thing. The dog’s owner should be grateful that someone cared enough to prevent what could’ve ended in a tragedy. Do you think she learned her lesson? Do you think in hindsight she regrets having the man arrested? I wish there could be follow-up to this story because I sure would like these questions answered. Let me know how you feel about all this…

CASE UPDATE: After much public outcry, the charges have been dropped against the man and a Ford dealership has offered to replace the busted window for the owner at no charge. Happy ending for all involved. Thanks to John Holton at The Sound of One Hand Typing for giving me the heads up. You can read more about the case here.