Authorities have dropped the charges filed against a veteran who was arrested after breaking a window to save a dog left inside a hot car in a shopping center parking lot.
Michael Hammons, 46, an Iraq War veteran who lives in Athens, Ga., used a leg support from his wife’s wheelchair to smash out the window of a Mustang.
At the insistence of the angry dog’s owner, who said she’d only let the dog alone for five minutes, Hammons was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
Thousands subsequently came to his defense online and called Hammons a hero, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which announced last week it will be awarding Hammons its Compassionate Action Award.
PETA officials noted that temperatures inside a parked car can jump quickly to 100 to 120 degrees — even on a mild, 78-degree day like Saturday, May 9, when the incident took place.
A local Ford dealer in Athens offered to replace the broken window for free, WXIA in Atlanta reported.
Current Georgia law allows someone to break a window to save a person, but not an animal. Hammons arrest led to a call to change that law, as a handful of other states have.
“The laws need to be changed to protect the animals, not necessarily the people,” said Mark Martin, a pet store owner who rallied around Hammons’ cause. “We are the voices for the animals; they can’t speak for themselves.”
Ken Mauldin, district attorney for the Superior Court of Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, said the car’s owner agreed with his decision to drop the charges.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrested, Athens, broke, car, charged, charges dropped, criminal trespass, district attorney, dog, dogs, dropped, georgia, hot, inside, leg support, michael hammons, parked, parking lot, pets, rescue, safety, wheelchair, window
A Georgia man used a leg support from his wife’s wheelchair to smash the window of car containing a panting dog — and promptly got arrested.
Michael Hammons, a veteran of Desert Storm, said he saw a group of people standing around a Mustang in a shopping center parking lot in Athens, worrying about the safety of a small dog locked inside, without water.
“I just did what had to be done,” Hammons told 11 Alive in Atlanta.
Shortly after he broke the window, the dog’s owner came back to the car.
“She said you broke my window, and I said I did. She says why would you do that? I said to save your dog,” Hammons recounted.
Oconee County authorities said they arrested Hammons at the insistence of the car’s owner.
Georgia state law, while it allows rescuers to break a car window to save a child, doesn’t make that same allowance for those who do it to save dogs.
Chief Deputy Lee Weems said officers had no choice but to charge Hammons: “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.”
Hammons wife, Saundra, said her husband suffers from PTSD and that he’s prone to coming to the rescue of those he perceives to be in danger.
“He has seen so much, and been through so much, his thing is he’s got to save him. Michael says I have to save lives because I couldn’t save everyone else over there,” she told Fox News in Atlanta.
The car’s owner said she had only been in the store for five minutes, but deputies issued her a citation as well.
“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.”
“I’ve got PTSD, and I’ve seen enough death and destruction,” Hammons added. “And I didn’t want anything else to happen if I could prevent it.”
Hammons said he’d do the same thing again.
“I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter. Glass? They make new glass every day. But they could never replace that dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, Athens, broke, car, dog, dogs, georgia, heat, hot, parking lot, pets, ptsd, rescue, smashed, veteran, window
A pit bull being shown at an adoption event at a PetSmart outside Atlanta on Sunday got loose from her handler, attacked a smaller dog and was repeatedly stabbed by the smaller dog’s owner.
Clara, a pit bull who was being fostered and who was taken to the event in hopes of finding an adoptive home, was euthanized due to the severity of her injuries, the local humane society said.
The smaller dog, a West Highland terrier, spent a night in an emergency vet’s office and was released to her owner Monday.
As reported in the Times-Herald, Clara, who has been living in a foster home, had been brought to the event by the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society in hopes of finding her a permanent home. The Westie belonged to a customer in the store — one who, according to witnesses, had a low opinion of pit bulls.
Witnesses say the smaller dog growled at the larger one when they walked past each other inside the store. Shortly after that, Clara pulled free from her handler and ran at the smaller dog.
The Westie’s owner tried to pull the pit bull off his dog, kicked her and stabbed her several times with a pocket knife. While doing so, some witnesses said, he was repeatedly screaming, “F—ing pit bulls!”
Clara was holding the smaller dog by the scruff of her neck or ear, and both dogs were still, Reeves said. “Clara wasn’t clamped down on the dog. Mike was able to put his hands in her mouth,” she said. “…They were just standing there. It could have easily been broken up.”
After the man started stabbing the pit bull, his son screamed for him to stop. Clara is believed to have been stabbed up to six times.
PetSmart staff also attempted to break the dogs up using air horns and spray bottles.
Sandy Hiser, with the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society, said that once the dogs were separated, Clara’s wounds turned out to be worse than originally thought. She sat back and was wagging her tail when it was noticed she was bleeding, and making a gurgling noise when she breathed.
Hiser said Clara’s injuries were “so extensive that if she did pull through, it would have impacted her quality of life.”
Police responded but no charges have been filed. Hiser said an officer told her that the man “had a right to defend his dog.”
The case is still being investigated by Newnan’s animal warden.
One witness said she heard the Westie’s owner complaining about pit bulls even before the attack.
Clara was being returned to the store from a trip outside when the man said, “If you bring that f***ing pit bull near me I’m going to stab it,” said Erin Burr, who was attending the adoption event.
According to a Facebook page set up in hopes of getting Clara adopted, she’d lived over half her life in a boarding kennel. It also notes she had problems being “dog tolerant.” Posts note that the page was started after she was banned from an earlier adoption event.
(Photos from the “Clicks for Clara” Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animals, clara, coweta, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, foster, georgia, humane society, newnan, pets, petsmart, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescue, shelter, west highland terrier, westie
A dog that was shot three times by a deputy in Georgia, and then left to die under a mobile home, has surfaced — alive.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy shot a dog that charged at him Saturday.
The dog ran under a trailer, the deputy presumed it dead, and the task of retrieving its body was referred to animal control.
Later that evening, the female pointer mix, named Bama Junior, was found alive by her owner at the Skyview Mobile Home Park. She was taken to a veterinarian by a local animal rescue group and is expected to recover.
Nikkie Brooks, with Furever After Rescue, drove the dog to Southwood Animal Hospital in Warner Robins where she had surgery to remove a bullet and received sutures for four wounds.
Brooks, who was contacted by the dog’s owner after she found the injured dog, said staff at the veterinary hospital — not knowing the dog’s real name — had dubbed her Lucky.
The sheriff’s deputy who shot the dog was responding to a call of three “aggressive” dogs barking and chasing children at the mobile home park.
“I found myself cornered,” the deputy wrote in his report. “The dogs stayed aggressive, then one of the dogs charged as he got within a couple of feet from me.”
The deputy said he fired a first shot that struck the dog in the back. He said he fired a second round into the dog’s side, and then a third round when ”the dog stood up and started towards me .”
According to the report, deputies were unable to retrieve the dog after it ran under a trailer, and Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare was called to remove the three dogs — the believed-to-be dead one and the other two.
Animal control staff couldn’t confirm which dogs they picked up, dead or alive, according to The Telegraph in Macon.
The sheriff’s office is looking into the case.
“Like any other use of force situation, if you’re being threatened with injury or someone else is being threatened with injury, you have to do whatever you can to neutralize the threat, and that’s what happened,” Sheriff David Davis said. “My concern is the follow-up as far as making sure that the dog was not suffering.”
(Photo: Macon Telegraph)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, alive, aniimal control, animals, bama junior, bibb, bibb county, bibb county sheriff, deputy, dogs, furever after rescue, georgia, law enforcement, left to die, lucky, macon, mix, mobile home, pets, pointer, recovering, shot, southwood animal hospital, surgery, three times
Guinness World Records has proclaimed Norman, a three-year-old French sheepdog, the fastest dog on a scooter.
Then again, there aren’t too many other dogs riding around on scooters.
Norman set the record in Marietta, Georgia, on July 12 and received his certificate from Guinness World Records while appearing on the Today Show over the weekend.
Norman’s owner, Karen Cobb, told Today Show anchors that the dog is a quick learner.
“He picked things up really quickly,” she said. Norman balances himself on the scooter with his two front paws on the handle and a back paw on the scooter, then uses his other hind paw to push himself forward.
He first showed an affinity for the scooter as a pup. “He loved it. He wouldn’t get off,” Cobb said.
His record-setting ride was part of a charity event that benefited Road Trip Home, an organization that saves animals from high-kill shelters. According to Guinness World Records, he traveled 100 feet in just over 20 seconds.
He has also appeared on Cartoon Network and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Norman has also mastered the skateboard and can ride a bike with training wheels.
(Photo: Erik S. Lesser / EPA)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bicycle, certificate, dog on scooter, dogs, french sheepdog, georgia, guinness world records, marietta, norman, pets, ride, rides, riding, road trip home, scooter, scooter riding dog, sheepdog, skateboard, today show, video
A 300-pound probation officer in Southwest Georgia, saying he feared for his life, fatally shot a woman’s 12-pound dog last week while on a routine visit to check on her son.
Cherrie Shelton’s two-year-old dog Patches approached officer Antoine Jones as he arrived at her home, she told FOX 31 in Albany.
As she was explaining to the officer that the dog wouldn’t bite, he pulled out his gun and shot the dog, she said.
Patches died 30 minutes later.
Shelton said the officer told her he feared for his life.
“He stated that he gave the dog verbal commands to get back but the dog continued to come towards him in an aggressive manner so he fired one shot at the dog using his duty weapon,” a police report on the incident said. The report noted that the probation officer is 6 feet tall and weighs nearly 300 pounds.
The Georgia Dept. of Corrections said in a statement that the officer’s force was justified, and that the officer was “required to use of force against an aggressive canine during a field visit. An incident report was filed and it was determined that the Probation Officer responded appropriately.”
Shelton told FOX 31 she can’t understand why a such a large man would react that way to such a little dog, or why he couldn’t just scare off the dog by kicking his foot or stomping.
The bullet hit Patches on the left side. The dog then walked to the side of the house, where she died 30 minutes later.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: albany, animals, dogs, georgia, jack russell, killed, law enforcement, officer, patches, pets, probation officer, robation, shot, terrier
Spartacus, a Belgian Malinois trained in narcotics detection and tracking, was found dead Monday night inside the car, which was parked outside his handler’s home.
The unidentified officer, a 9-year veteran of the department, was placed on paid leave, a police spokeswoman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The spokeswoman said Spartacus was the second K-9 assigned to the officer. The first, after retiring, became his family pet and still lives with him.
In addition to an internal investigation, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the officer’s home Monday night, is investigating the dog’s death.
A necropsy determined the cause of death was heat stroke.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, death, dog, dogs, georgia, handler, heat, heat related, heat stroke, investigation, K-9, k9, law enforcement, patrol car, pets, pickens county, police, spartacus, woodstock