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
If there were a Professional Dog Walker Hall of Shame, we might have to nominate this Jaguar-driving hipster — at least based on a first-hand account recently published on the Echo Park Forums
The writer was in a Los Angeles supermarket when it was announced that there was a black sports car in the parking lot with its windows rolled up and a dog inside.
She went outside and saw a black Jaguar, with a black Lab panting in the black leather driver’s seat. The car was locked, with its windows up.
Standing by the car was a frantic woman — the one who had reported it to the store and called 911.
Another onlooker was threatening to break the car’s window when a fire truck was waved down. Firefighters got the door open and, as the car’s alarm system blared, they let the dog out.
According to her tags, her name was Chloe.
Chloe perked up after some water, and police showed up at the scene a little later, determining the car’s ownership by checking it’s VIN number. (It had no license plate.)
The post says a good hour passed before the driver of the Jaguar showed up. He told officers he was from New York and didn’t understand that the Los Angeles weather was too hot to lock a dog in a car.
He told police the dog was his.
But after onlookers called the phone number listed on Chloe’s collar, they realized he was lying — about that and more.
The dog’s owner answered, saying Chloe belonged to her, and that the black Jaguar was her dog walker’s car.
He has his own dog walking company, Rocket Dog Walking, in Los Angeles, which serves downtown, the Eastside and the Northeast.
He has been identified in Internet comments and on Facebook as an aspiring actor who has appeared in two low-budget movies.
We don’t know if he has a future in acting, but based on this report we know how much future he should have as a dog walker:
(Photos: Echo Park Forums and Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black lab, car, company, dog, dog walker, dog walking, dogs, echo park, echo park forums, heat, hot, jaguar, lab, labrador, locked, los angeles, pets, professional, retriever, rocket dog walking, walker, walking, windows
And when we say climate, we mean the weather.
Garzon, in a letter to the Colombian president, said he was declining the job for personal and family reasons. He elaborated on those reasons in an interview with the magazine Semana.
Basically, it comes down to one family member — his German shepherd, Orion, who he said wouldn’t be comfortable in Brazil’s steamy climate, and who he refuses to live without.
“I have turned down the ambassador job because the dog you see on that picture is very hairy and the hot climate of Brasilia could harm its health,” Garzon, 67, told the magazine reporter as he showed her a photo of Orion.
“Wherever Angelino goes, it goes,” he said.
We find his reasons perfectly acceptable, even admirable (though calling his dog something other than “it” would be more to our liking).
Some, though, are scoffing at his excuse, including Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, according to the BBC.
She called Garzon’s rejection of the post “very embarrassing … When he mentioned personal problems, you would expect something deeper than that. It is as though he doesn’t realize the importance Brazil has,” she said.
We may have a duty to our country, but we have a duty to our dogs, too, and — whether or not “it’s too hot for the dog” is his real and total reason for declining the post — we think Garzon has every right to say no thanks for any reason he wants. We especially like this one though.
Garzon announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election alongside President Juan Manuel Santos. He said he might consider running for mayor of Bogota or Cali. “In local government, you can have a bigger impact in improving people’s lives than as vice-president,” he said.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambassador, ambassadorship, angelino garzon, animals, brazil, climate, colombia, country, declines, dog, dogs, german shepherd, hot, job, loyalty, orion, pets, politics, position, south america, vice president, weather
On particularly hot days, which has been every day as we passed through Oklahoma and Texas, he has taken to moving up closer to the front of the car and resting his head and paws on the front seat console, so that he might absorb a little more coolness from the air conditioner vents.
This also puts his head just inches from the dual cup holders. That way, when I am mostly finished with my Big Gulp, extra large iced coffee or other mega-beverage, I can easily hand feed him ice cubes while I drive. He likes this very much.
The heat has been, far and away, the biggest challenge on our road trip — which enters its third month today.
Month two of our travels — aimed at finding interesting dog stories, seeing America, and exploring the relationship between America and dog (all on a shoestring budget) — saw us spend a little more money than month one.
Though trying to live on roughly the same amount we were paying for rent and utilities at our ex-home in Baltimore — about $1,100 — we spent about $1,300 on food, gas and lodging, even with our ten days of free housing in Santa Fe, in exchange for petsitting duties.
That means we need to do a whole lot more freeloading as we head off on the next leg.
We will soon be making our getaway from Texas — where both of the ohmidogmobile’s door magnets were stolen, one in Dallas, on in Huntsville. We plan a quick revisit to Houston before heading on to Mississippi, then spending some time in North Carolina.
After that, we’ll head north, pop in on Baltimore, check the mail, pay some bills, and venture into New England before heading west again, on a more northerly route.
(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, air conditioning, animals, automobile, car, cup holder, cupholder, dog, dog's country, dogs, global warming, heat, hot, hydrate, ohmidog!, oklahoma, pets, rides, riding, road trip, texas, travel, traveling with dogs, weather
Ace, while enjoying the wide-open West, seems less than pleased with one of its characteristics. He — and I could be wrongly reading his mind now — is tired of the blistering hot pavement and the pebbles, large and small, that most folks around here opt for when landscaping.
He was longing last night — again I’m mind reading — for a soft green carpet to do his business, which is what led me to approach my Motel 6 neighbors two doors down after seeing they had a dog. They appeared to have been there for a while, based on the clutter in their room, so I figured they knew the ropes.
Ace and I were headed out for a walk, when I spotted them. Not wanting to alarm them or trigger a bad reaction in their dog, I shouted my question from a distance.
“Do you know where I could find some grass around here?”
“Do you know where I could find some grass around here?”
The second time I said it, the double meaning dawned on me. Fortunately, no police cars were passing by, though, who knows, the moment could have been captured for posterity by a security camera. Big Brother is pretty much everywhere these days — from Motel 6 to your more classy joints, like Howard Johnson’s.
Fortunately, too, my motel neighbor took my question with the intended meaning and pointed us down the road, past four more motels, to the Cracker Barrel.
“Cracker Barrel’s got some good grass,” she said.
She was right. Ace sniffed it for 30 minutes, watered it three times, and gently dropped a load (subsequently scooped) upon it. By then, I was ready to get back to the room, but he lay down in it, knowing it would be more hot pavement and pebbles on the way back.
I gave him a couple more minutes, for he was right, as dogs usually are when they make us slow down. There was no hurry. We lingered a bit, inhaled a few more times.
It was good stuff.
(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, arid, arizona, climate, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, dry, flagstaff, grass, hot, landscaping, ohmidog!, pavement, pebbles, pets, poop, road trip, scoring some grass, terrain, travel, traveling with dogs, waste, west
China’s hottest dog won’t fit in your lap, drools copiously and was once banned by the Communist party.
With pet ownership booming in China, the must-have dog for the ultra-rich is the Tibetan mastiff — a breed the Communist Party once deemed bourgeois, the Associated Press reports.
How much times have changed was evident at the 6th annual China Tibetan Mastiff Expo this past weekend, where hundreds of the massive dogs were on hand, parading down catwalks like fashion models and strutting their high-priced stuff.
Some carried the names of wealthy Americans like “Warren Buffett,” while others were called “God,” “Prince,” and “King” — the latter so prized that one breeding session with him costs $40,000.
“I used to invest in German shepherds, but Tibetan mastiffs are what’s hot right now,” said King’s owner, Sui Huizheng, a businessman who has about 20 of the dogs.
Breeders in China say adult Tibetan mastiffs sell for tens of thousands of dollars, and can even go for more than $100,000.
One of them sold for more than half a million dollars last year to a woman in northern China who then sent 30 black Mercedes-Benz and other luxury cars to fetch the dog from the airport, according to a report in the state-run China Daily.
Tibetan mastiffs, most recognizable by their mane-like hair, can grow to 180 pounds.
After splurging on real estate in Australia, American thoroughbreds and European designer fashions, China’s rich see the Tibetan mastiffs as a new status symbol, the Associated Press reported, and among the must-haves for rich men in northeast China, the official Xinhua News Agency recently said, are a young beautiful wife, a Lamborghini and a Tibetan mastiff, “the bigger and more ferocious the better.”
(Photo: A Tibetan mastiff in South Korea — one who happens to be a clone. By John Woestendiek /ohmidog!)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeders, breeding, breeds, china, china tibetan mastiff expo, clone, communist, dogs, expensive, hot, mastiffs, news, ohmidog!, pets, popular, popularity, status symbol, stud fee, tibetan mastiff, trend