A war veteran was arrested after rescuing a dog locked in a car in the sweltering heat in the US state of Georgia.
46-year-old Michael Hammons was at a shopping centre in Athens, Georgia when he saw the dog alone inside the vehicle. Reports say the Desert Storm veteran took the footrest from his wife’s wheelchair to smash open the window of a Ford Mustang.
The dog was then taken to the shade and given water, according to various witnesses who watched the event unfold.
Despite one onlooker claiming the dog would have met its maker were it not for the actions of Hammons, 22-year-old car and dog owner Elantra Cunninghams was left feeling “irate” and decided to press charges for criminal trespass, leading to the arrest of Hammons.
Hammons ─ who is said to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ─ was later released with an OR Bond, which means a court appearance but no bail fee. It is likely he will have to pay for the broken windows.
It is unclear how long Cunninghams had left the dog in the car and whether the windows were open. She was cited for animal cruelty.
Speaking to Fox News, Hammons said: “I knew there would be consequences, but it didn’t matter. I mean, glass, they make new glass every day, but she could never replace that dog.”
Chief Lee Weems of the local sheriff’s office said of the incident: “I understand the man’s actions. I sympathize with the man’s actions. The rules are that I don’t get to decide the guilt or innocence of a person.”
He added: “I fully trust that a jury of Oconee County citizens will evaluate the facts of the case and make a fair and just decision.”
Comments on the news report, which was published on YouTube, mostly sympathise with Hammons. One user said: “This is some BS. The owner should be arrested for animal cruelty.” Another said his actions were “heroic”.
Probably best to alert the police to a dog you suspect is suffering inside a hot car this summer and keep an eye on it until they arrive, or risk being on the wrong side of the law.