Hero's reward? Georgia vet charged after saving dog from hot car

Michael Hammons, a US veteran,, was charged with criminal trespassing after smashing a window to free a small Pomeranian mix dog in distress from a hot car. 

An Athens man who saved a dog from a hot Mustang has been arrested for smashing a window to free the animal.

Multiple news outlets report Michael Hammons was charged with criminal trespassing after freeing a small Pomeranian mix in distress from a hot car outside an Athens store. Witnesses say while a group of shoppers waited for police to arrive to free the dog, the Desert Storm veteran took action and smashed the window.

Deputies say the car's owner insisted Hammons be arrested.

The woman, who deputies didn't identify, was cited for leaving the dog in the hot car.

Georgia state law allows an individual to break a window to save a child in distress, but not a pet. Animal advocates say they are working to change the law.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to 100 to 120 degrees in minutes. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach 160 in less than 10 minutes.

“Nobody ever intends to hurt their pet by leaving them for too long in a hot car,” said KC Theisen, the Humane Society of the United States’ director of pet care issues. “We like to think it will take five minutes to run into the grocery store, but if the express line is five people deep, suddenly your pet can be in very real danger. Our pets are safer resting at home in the air conditioning … .”

Think running a battery-operated fan will help your pet? Dogs can cool themselves only by panting and sweating through their paw pads. A fan does nothing to cool their bodies.

In Reno, Nevada, the Washoe County Animal Services told KOLO-TV in late April that it was already getting calls from people seeing dogs locked in hot cars. The Heart's Companion Pet Memorial Center says last week, it received a pet that died from heat exposure after being left in a hot car on a 78-degree day.

It reports that it is illegal in Washoe County to leave a pet unattended in a car. You can be cited for animal cruelty. The penalty is a $635 fine and up to six months in jail.

Nevada is one of 16 states that has laws addressing leaving animals in parked vehicles. 

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