A U.S. Army veteran was arrested in Georgia this week after saving a dog trapped inside a hot vehicle.
Michael Hammons, a veteran of Desert Storm, sprang to action after overhearing comments regarding the canine while in a Athens shopping center parking lot.
“I heard someone say there was a dog in distress in a hot car,” Hammons told WXIA.
Bystander Diane Byard, who initially found the dog before calling 911, says Hammons asserted that he had no intention to let the Pomeranian die while waiting for police.
“He says ‘We can’t let this dog die…'” Byard recalled.
Using his wife’s wheelchair leg, Hammons was able to free the dog after smashing the Ford Mustang’s driver’s side window.
“I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction,” Hammons said. “And I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”
After returning to her vehicle, the woman reportedly began arguing that she had only left the dog alone for five minutes, a claim refuted by multiple witnesses.
“It wasn’t just five minutes like the lady stated, it was a lot longer,” Hammons said. “I personally felt the heat in the car; I saw the dog panting. This dog was in distress.”
Police say they had no choice but to arrest Hammons given the dog owner’s demands.
“We would not have made those charges on our own,” Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems said. “The deputies on scene say the owner of the dog and the car were very insistent that he be charged with criminal trespassing.”
Although the woman was cited for leaving the dog in the car by animal control, deputies were unable to determine exactly how long the canine was left alone due to a lack of surveillance video.
Despite being arrested, Hammons expressed no regret over his decision.
“I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter,” Hammons said. “Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog.”