They say that no good deed goes unpunished, and that couldn’t be more true for this Georgia Veteran.Â Michael Hammons was out shopping with his wife on an 80 degree day when he heard a call for help he will likely not forget. “I heard someone say there was a dog in distress in a hot car,” he said. The call came from one of the other shoppers who were standing by waiting for the police to arrive. Hammons said he saw theÂ tiny, Pomeranian-mix panting, with no water, and he knew someone was going to have to act to save this dog’s life.
Witnesses say Hammons exclaimed, “We can’t let this dog die!”, and started smashing the car window with the foot rest of his wife’s wheelchair to get the dog out. When the car owner finally returned to see her window broken, she was furious.
“She said you broke my window, and I said I did. She says why would you do that? I said to save your dog.” said Hammons.Â Oconee County authorities said the owner of the car insisted on pressing charges against Hammons. Chief Deputy Lee Weems, said he understands why Hammons did what he did.
“We didn’t want to charge him, 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,” said Chief Weems.
Michael Hammons is a Dessert Storm vet who is suffering with PTSD.Â His wife, Saundra, said that even though he battles the disease, he is always the one to come to the rescue in the face of danger.
“He has seen so much, and been through so much, his thing is he’s got to save him. Michael says I have to save lives because I couldn’t save everyone else over there,” said Saundra Hammons.
The owner was only cited for leaving the dog in the hot car. Without surveillance video, deputies say it is hard to tell how long the dog was actually left in the car.
Hammons said despite the arrest and the likelihood he will have to pay for the windows he smashed, he said there’s no doubt he’d do it again.
He said “I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter. Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog.”
Georgia state law does allow an individual to break a window to save a child in a hot or cold car, but not a pet. Because dogs do not sweat the same way as humans, it can only take minutes for a dog to have a heat stroke and die in a car, even with the windows cracked.Â It is not safe to leave your dog unattended within a car for even a couple of minutes while you pop to a shop or run an errand. The temperature within a closed car without air conditioning will climb rapidly, even if parked in the shade, and heatstroke can occur within just a few minutes in this environment. Please, if you love your pet, leave them at home.