Charges Against Window-Breaking, Dog-Saving Veteran Dropped
On May 9th, Iraqi War veteran Michael Hammons spotted a Yorkie mix locked in a Mustang parked at a shopping center in Athens, Georgia. Being that it was a hot afternoon—and that it’s easily understood that locking an animal in a car with the windows rolled up on even a mildly sunny afternoon can have disastrous consequences—Hammons used a piece of his wife’s wheelchair to break the Mustang’s window and free the dog.
Despite the compassionate act, the owner of the car and dog was not pleased, insisting that Hammons be arrested for criminal trespass, which is exactly what one might expect from someone who thinks leaving their dog in a hot car is acceptable.
“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.”
This point was proven by a local Ford dealership, who offered to replace the Mustang’s window for free. The community has responded by rallying around Hammons, including the owners of Pet Supplies Plus, who have offered to pay for any of Hammons’ needs stemming from his arrest.
This was all rendered moot, however, as Hammons’ lawyer offered to take the case pro bono. Hammons’ fortunes turned again on Monday when, in a stroke of logic, the Mustang owner opted to drop charges against the veteran.
The case has also sparked a discussion regarding Georgia’s laws protecting animals in cars. There are laws on the books permitting window-breaking in order to save the life of a human being, but there are no such laws in place to protect animals.
“The laws need to be changed to protect the animals, not necessarily the people,” said Mark Martin, a pet store owner who rallied around Hammons’ cause. “We are the voices for the animals; they can’t speak for themselves.”