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Man Cited for Damage After Breaking Into Car to Save Dogs

Ohio police say Richard Hill should have waited
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 4:11 AM CDT
Updated Aug 3, 2018 6:40 AM CDT
Ohio's 'Hot Cars' law protects people who cause damage to save children or animals from hot cars.   (Getty/WiktorD)

(Newser) – An Ohio man who smashed a window to save two dogs left in a hot car received a citation for criminal damage from police officers who turned up minutes later. Richard Hill says he saw the dogs in a car in the parking lot of the Parma, Ohio, Walmart on Saturday, People reports. He says that after noticing the younger of the two dogs, a puppy, wasn't moving, he smashed the window with a hammer he retrieved from his truck, even though another witness alerted by the older dog jumping around had already called police. "I felt they needed out right then and there," Hill says. In a Facebook post, he says it was around 79 degrees at the time and he believed the dogs had been in the car for around 30 minutes.

Police, however, say the dogs had only been left in the car for around six minutes when Hill broke the window. "We believe his heart may have been in the right place, but he should have waited a little more," Sgt. Dan Ciryak tells Cleveland.com. "He knew the police were coming. I don't know what his sense of urgency was." The vehicle's owner emerged from the store after around 14 minutes and did not receive a citation. Hill, who says he thought he was protected under the state's "Hot Car" law, plans to fight his citation in court. He says he would do the same thing again in a similar situation, though he would take video to protect himself and prove that the vehicle's sunroof wasn't open, as police are claiming. "I just wanted to help [the] dogs. That’s all," he tells ABC. (Read more hot cars stories.)

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