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
Posted by John Woestendiek May 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal videos, animals, bear, dog, dogs, elephant, happy mothers day, mothers day, mothers to the rescue, pets, rescue, videos
That Boston terrier who boarded a city bus and went on a 20-mile ride in Houston last month has landed in a forever home, according to news reports.
The dog, as you can see in the surveillance video above, hopped on the bus in northwest Houston with some other passengers, though he didn’t belong to any of them.
Twenty miles later, at Metro’s downtown transit center on Main Street, he exited the bus with other passengers — one of whom escorted him to the transit authority police station.
“He was a very friendly little guy. He was very sociable. But he was a gentleman,” Metro Police Officer Ida Schoener told KHOU.
Schoener, on her lunch break, took the dog to the Bayou City Veterinary Hospital, which agreed to care for the dog — by then nicknamed “Metro” — until an owner or foster family could be found.
“He’s pretty calm but also excited to go out on walks,” said Bayou City veterinarian Kristy Kyle. “He is not afraid of the world. We’ll put it that way.”
The transit authority released surveillance footage recorded on a camera on the bus of the dog being welcomed on board, as well as footage of the dog arriving at the transit center.
After no one called to claim the dog, a Boston terrier rescue group was called and a temporary home was found.
There, the dog’s long strange trip finally came to an end, the veterinary hospital reports, when the person serving as his foster parent decided to adopt him.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, animals, bayou city veterinary hospital, boarded, boston terrier, bus, dog, dogs, foster, houston, metro, news, passengers, pets, public transportation, rescue, shelter, stray, surveillance, transit, video
Today we bring you three dramatic rescues of dogs from icy ponds — all with happy endings.
The one above took place Tuesday, when emergency responders in North Carolina tied two ladders together and use life vests to keep them afloat to rescue a dog who fell through the ice at a pond in Zebulon.
Bryanna Schug, 12, was sledding with a friend when her eight-year-old dog, Brody, walked onto the pond and fell through the ice.
She ran to get her mother, Laura, who tried to slide out on the ice on Bryanna’s sled, but fell through.
Schug was able to get out of the icy water and Wake County sheriff’s deputies soon arrived with paramedics and Zebulon firefighters, according to UPI.
They tied two ladders together to reach 30 feet out into the water, and secured life vests to help keep it afloat when the dog climbed aboard.
Brody cooperated, riding atop the ladders before being helped to shore with a long hook. He survived the ordeal.
Earlier in the week, a dog and the couple who owns her fell through ice and into a pond in Louisville, Ky. Emergency workers rescued the couple, while a neighbor grabbed her kayak to go after the dog, named Lady,
Nicole Young paddled up to Lady and hoisted her aboard. Later, Nicole, Lady and the kayak were pulled by a rope over the ice to shore.
This last video, said to have been shot in a village outside Moscow last winter, a man named Ivan uses only his bare hands, and fists, to rescue a dog from a frozen pond.
According to the Russian news channel m24.ru, Ivan says had stopped his car near the pond to help a motorist who had broken down. As he was talking to the driver, he heard the dog barking and ran to help him.
If Ivan is starting to sound a little like Superman, well, just watch what he did next.
According to local media reports, Ivan later adopted the dog and named him Rex.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, fists, ice, icy ponds, kayak, ladders, pets, ponds, rescue, rescues, safety, saved, thin ice
A new documentary takes an inside look at the kind of “win-win-win” program I think should exist in every state, if not every prison.
“Dogs on the Inside” follows the relationships between abused stray dogs and inmates at a Massachusetts prison who are training and caring for them, getting them prepared to be put up for adoption.
Under a program called “Don’t Throw Us Away,” shelter and rescued dogs from the southeastern U.S. are sent to the North Central Correctional Institution at Gardner, where a group of inmate trainers work to regain their trust and, in the process, get some lessons in resilience and empathy.
The program benefits dogs and inmates. The third winner? Society — the one to which those inmates eventually are returning.
It’s similar to programs in other states we’ve written about before, including Philadelphia’s New Leash on Life, and, in North Carolina, a program with the same name, operated by the Forsyth County Humane Society.
Given we’re a country with more two million inmates incarcerated, given six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, and given most of both spend that time unloved and idle, getting them together — given the benefits that can follow — makes good sense
“Dogs on the Inside” follows the relationships between neglected and abused stray dogs and prison inmates in Gardner, Mass., as they “work together for a second chance at a better life: a forever home for the dogs and a positive life outside prison for the inmates.”
“Connected by their troubled pasts, the dogs learn to have faith in people again while the inmates are reminded of their own humanity and capacity for love and empathy,” the filmmakers say.
Directed by Brean Cunningham and Douglas Seirup, the film shows “the timeless connection between man and dog, showing the resiliency of a dogs’ trust and the generosity of the human spirit in the unlikeliest of places … In the seemingly dark recesses of a prison, a spark of light emerges that is a reminder of the wonderful and timeless connection that exists between dog and man.”
(Photos: Courtesy of “Dogs on the Inside”)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 17th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abused, animals, documentary, dogs, dogs on the inside, don't throw us way, film, gardner, inmates, massachusetts, neglected, north central correctional institution, pets, prison, prisons, programs, rescue, second chance, shelter, stray, training
That infamous door mat — the one that, due to a typo, read “In Dog We Trust” instead of “In God We Trust” — has sold for $9,650 in an online auction, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says.
The money will be donated to Canine Estates, Inc., a dog rescue shelter in Palm Harbor.
The rug with the county seal was one of several the sheriff’s office ordered, but the only one with the mistaken (though we think it’s right on target) wording.
After it was placed on the floor, a deputy noticed the boo-boo and, to avoid embarassment, it was rolled up and stored.
But after photos of it were published by news organizations Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided to make the most of it and put the rug up for auction online, with the proceeds going to the rescue organization from which he adopted his dog.
As we predicted, it brought in some big bucks.
When the auction closed Wednesday at 4 p.m., the final bid was $9,650. The rug initially cost the department about $500.
The identity of the winning bidder, who lives in Florida, hasn’t been made public.
“I knew that the sheriff’s office paid $500 for it,” Canine Estates founder Jane Sidwell told Bay News 9. “So I thought well, that’s great. We’ll get $500. But we had no idea it would escalate into what it has.”
Sidwell says the money will be used primarily to pay medical expenses for dogs in its care. The organization placed 186 dogs in permanent homes last year.
The online action attracted nearly 31,000 hits and 83 bids from across the country.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: auction, canine estates, dog, dogs, door mat, error, gualtieri, in dog we trust, in god we trust, mistake, online, pinellas county, printing, rescue, rug, shelte, sheriff, typo