In Georgia, it is legal to break a window to free a child in a hot car but not a dog—as military veteran Michael Hammons found out when he was arrested after freeing a distressed small dog outside a shopping center in Athens on Saturday. Police tell the Athens Banner-Herald that Hammons, after noticing a group of people outside a Ford Mustang and hearing the dog in distress, knocked a window out before removing the dog from the car, taking it to a shaded area, and giving it water. Witnesses say the Mustang owner was furious when she came out of a store and demanded that Hammons be charged with criminal trespassing, WXIA reports.
The driver—who was cited for leaving the dog in the hot car with the windows rolled up—told police the dog had been in the car for just five minutes, which Hammons doesn't believe. "It wasn't just five minutes like the lady stated, it was a lot longer," he tells WXIA. "I personally felt the heat in the car; I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress." The Desert Storm veteran says he took action because "I've got PTSD, and I've seen enough death and destruction. And I didn't want anything else to happen if I could prevent it." A police spokesman tells WXIA that Hammons wouldn't have been arrested if the car owner hadn't complained, but she was "very insistent" that he be charged.