May 20, 2015 07:30 PM

A veteran who smashed a window to rescue a dog from a hot car at a shopping center in Athens, Georgia, won’t face criminal charges.

According to WSB-TV News in Atlanta, the dog’s owner, Elantra Cunningham, agreed to drop the charges against Michael Hammons, 46, a Desert Storm vet who used the footrest of his wife’s wheelchair to get the Yorkie pup out of the car on a recent 80-degree day.

When Cunningham initially saw the damage to her vehicle, she called police and asked that they arrest Hammons. Though Cunningham said she only planned to leave the dog for five minutes, Hammons insisted it was more. (She was later cited by animal control for leaving the pooch in the car.)

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

After Hammons’ story spread like wildfire, a Georgia Ford dealer offered to replace Cunningham’s Mustang window for free – and she agreed to drop the charges, WSB said.

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.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced this week that they are honoring Hammons’s swift action with a Compassionate Action Award.

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