Army veteran arrested after he smashed window in a hot car to save a dog

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ATHENS, Ga. —An Army veteran smashed a car window to free a dog inside a hot car, but he was still arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.

“I heard someone say there was a dog in distress in a hot car,” Michael Hammons told WXIA.

Diane Byard and a group of shoppers were waiting for police to arrive when Hammons exclaimed he couldn’t let the dog die and smashed the Ford Mustang’s window to free the small Pomeranian mix.

“I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction,” Hammons told WXIA. “And I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”

Witnesses said when the owner came out of the store, she was furious and demanded deputies take action.

Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems said they would not have brought charges against Hammons on their own, adding that the owner of the Mustang was “very insistent that he be charged with criminal trespassing.”

The owner of the car said she was only in the store for five minutes. Hammons claims it was a lot more than five minutes.

“I personally felt the heat in the car; I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress,” he said.

The owner of the Mustang was cited for leaving the dog in the car. Deputies said it was difficult to determine how long the dog was in the vehicle because there was no surveillance video.

Georgia state law allows individuals to break a window to save a child in a hot or cold car, but not a pet.


  • Matthew Kissell

    Never ever be the good samiritan. Do not do the morally correct thing. Always film the problem. If the dog was hurt/died then report it to the police. I have been screwed ever single time Ive done the good thing.

  • John Stevens

    according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ‘a locked car sitting in the sun quickly turns into an oven,’ and ‘temperatures can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes.’
    Even if does not feel that warm out a car can heat up fast in the sun, I would have called 911 before breaking the window. I am glad the women was cited but she has no business having a dog or any other animal if she is going to treat them like that. The Law in Georga needs to be changed to include Pets.

  • Mike

    a good judge would surely make her pay more in the end then him…. now this guy is going to have a record, and be forced to pay for a window simply for doing the right thing. This incident will influence anyone against doing the right thing…. Should go lock the woman in the car for awhile…

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