Army veteran Michael Hammons was arrested for saving a dog’s life.
The Athens, Georgia, man heard people in a parking lot talking about a distressed dog stuck in the backseat of a hot Mustang and decided to take action, reports WXIA.
Instead of waiting for police with the rest of the bystanders, Hammons grabbed the leg of his wife’s wheelchair and smashed the car’s window to let the animal out.
“I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction,” Hammons, a veteran of Desert Storm, told the news station. “I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”
When the dog’s owner arrived to find the window destroyed, she became angry and called the police. Once authorities arrived, the owner demanded that Hammons be put under arrest for the damages.
“We would not have made those charges on our own,” said Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems. “The deputies on scene say the owner of the dog and the car were very insistent that he be charged with criminal trespassing.”
The dog’s owner insists she was only away from her vehicle for five minutes, but Hammons says it was more.
“It wasn’t just five minutes like the lady stated, it was a lot longer,” he said. “I personally felt the heat in the car; I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress.”
Weems says it was 80 degrees outside that day, which means the temperature in the car could’ve reached 114 degrees in just 30 minutes.
The animal’s owner was cited for leaving her dog locked inside the Mustang, but without surveillance footage it is hard to determine how long the dog was stuck inside.
Currently, Georgia state law allows for individuals to break into cars to save children left inside, but not pets. Animal rights groups are working to amend this law.