Authorities have dropped charges against Georgia veteran who was arrested for smashing through the window of a hot car to free a small dog left inside, NBC affiliate WXIA reported Tuesday.
Michael Hammons, 46, noticed the small Pomeranian mix locked inside a Ford Mustang at a shopping center in Georgia last week. The Army veteran smashed through the car window with a piece of his wife's wheelchair while a group of shoppers waited for police to arrive and free the dog, witnesses said.
"I knew there'd be consequences, but it didn't matter," Hammons told a local TV station. "Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog."
Georgia state law allows an individual to break a car window to save a child in distress, but the same protection does not apply when a pet's life is at stake.
"The laws need to be changed to protect the animals, not necessarily the people," Mark Martin, a pet store owner who rallied around Hammons' cause, told WXIA. "We are the voices for the animals; they can't speak for themselves."
Deputies said the car's owner, Elantra Cunningham, 22, of Athens insisted Hammons be arrested. Cunningham was cited for leaving the dog in the hot car.
"We didn't want to charge him, but he told us he broke the windows and when you have a victim there saying she wants him charged, we had no other choice," said Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems.
Hammons took action because dog appeared to be in distress, he said. After Hammons freed the dog, witnesses said he took the pet to a shaded area and gave it water.