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
One of Washington, D.C.’s most revered landmarks is moving to the suburbs of Virginia.
It’s not the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial; it’s Romo — a 150-pound bull mastiff and pit bull mix who has become famous for resting half-in, half-out the first floor living room window of his owner’s home in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Romo has been assuming his position, perched on the window sill, for years now — mellowly watching the world go by.
But now the droopy-faced tourist attraction is headed to a new life in the suburbs, WTOP reports.
His owners, Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby, are moving this fall out of their Calvert Street apartment to Arlington, where Romo, though losing his street-level window on the world, will have his own suburban (yawn) backyard.
Bacon is hoping the seven-year-old pooch smoothly makes the transition from urban dog to suburban dog.
“I’m a little sad because he doesn’t know anything else; all he knows is this house,” Bacon says. “He loves the city; he loves going to the park; his dog walker is his best friend in the entire world. He’s going to be devastated.”
Bacon said Romo started hanging out the window years ago. She opened it while cleaning the apartment one morning “and then all of a sudden, I looked over and he was hanging out the window,” she says.
After that, she noticed every time she walked into the house, Romo would be perched by the window, waiting for someone to open it. If Bacon just cracked it open slightly, Romo would nudge it up the rest of the way with his nose and then lay across the sill.
Since then, opening the window for Romo has become part of their daily routine — even if it does send their heating and air conditioning bills sky high.
“At 5:30, we’ll open it up, and he’ll be out there, ready, just waiting for the buses. When we’re home, it’s open,” says Scourby. “…He’s so sad when it’s closed.”
Romo rests his chest on the windowsill, and his front paws dangle outside over the edge. He rarely sees anything that gets him worked up. Instead he watches quietly, rarely barking — even when fans stop to say hello or take a photo.
He’s frequently Tweeted, and often Instagrammed, and, of course has his own Facebook page, but he takes it all in stride — even when pedestrians and drivers shout out to him.
“People yell from their cars when they’re stopped at this light here,” Scourby says. “It’s hysterical.”
The move to Arlington is scheduled for October. My guess is that — dogs being creatures of habit, dogs being highly social beasts — Romo will seek out a new front window to hang out of at the new home, no matter how fine a back yard he is offered.
There’s a world out there, and his job — or so it seems — is to watch it.
(Photo: Rachel Nania / WTOP)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adams morgan, animals, apartment, attraction, calvert street, dc, dog, dogs, famous, landmark, mastiff, mix, move, moving, neighborhood, peter scourby, pets, photographed, photos, pit bull, Romo, suburbs, tiffany bacon, tourist, view, washington, watching, window, window dog, world
“We as a city again want to offer our complete apology to Mr. Jones,” Mayor Steve Widmyer said at last night’s City Council meeting.
Widmyer said the city will “take full responsibility” for the death of the 2-year-old black Lab mix, named Arfee, if the investigation determines mistakes were made.
Arfee was alone in a parked van when a police officer — as yet unnamed — approached it from the rear during an investigation. The officer says the dog lunged at him when he neared the partially opened window. He fired one shot — through the window glass — hitting Arfee in the chest and killing him.
Police Chief Ron Clark also spoke at the start of last night’s council meeting, calling the shooting “a regrettable tragedy.” He said he has spoken to the dog’s owner, Craig Jones, a former Coeur d’Alene resident now living in Colorado who was visiting the Idaho city during the 4th of July weekend.
“I told him how sorry I was about this incident,” the chief said. “And we had a good conversation. We discussed the entire situation and also about how it was unintended.”
Jones left Arfee in the van while he went out to breakfast and returned to find a bullet hole through the window, according to the Spokesman-Review.
In a news release after the shooting, police said they were responding to a report of a suspicious van, possibly containing someone watching young children. When an officer approached the van on the driver’s side, “a vicious Pit Bull dog lunged out the open driver’s side window toward the Officer’s face,” the release said.
Police removed the dog’s body and left before Jones returned to this van. Police later said the dog was a Lab mix, not a pit bull.
A witness to the shooting also spoke at last night’s council meeting.
“Everything that I witnessed appeared to be a complete cover-up,” Jessi Johnson told the council. “Everybody watched and nobody did the right thing.”
Police Chief Clark said the department’s investigation will be reviewed by the city’s legal department, the administration and an outside authority yet to be identified. The results will he shared with the public, he said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to avoid anything like this happening in the future,” he added.
The officer involved will be reassigned from patrol to office duty until the investigation and reviews are completed, Clark said. The city has withheld the officer’s name and the officer’s report on the incident, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, car, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, killing, lab mix, law enforcement, officer, parked, pets, pit bull, police, shot, van, window
Pawlitically incorrect as it might be, I do permit my dog to stick his head out the car window from time to time.
While there are those who say that’s putting him, and particularly his eyes and ears, at risk, I can’t bring myself to forbid him from sticking his nose out the window. To ban him from that activity would be the equivalent of taking someone to an art museum and blindfolding them.
So when traveling at reasonable speeds, and once in a while traveling at unreasonable speeds, I power down the back window halfway to let Ace sniff in the surroundings for a minute or two, usually at his urging — as in, “If I keep smushing my greasy nose into this closed window, he will open it a bit.”
I, unsafe and risky as it is, love to see the dog head protruding from the car window, almost as much as dogs seem to enjoy sticking their heads out the window.
To me, the dog head protruding from a car window, while maybe not as iconic as that torch Lady Liberty holds up, is a symbol of freedom and possibilities and soaking up all life has to offer. I have even tried it myself, but I got something in my eye and no longer take part in that behavior. Ace still gets to, though, within limits.
Admitting that will probably bring some criticism my way, just as I’d expect this new ad from Volkswagen might take some heat.
The ad features more than 15 dogs — all hooked up to seat restraints, it is said — but still managing to get their heads out the car window, in some cases well out the window.
(If you’re wondering why some dogs appear to be in the driver’s seat, that’s because the ad was filmed in the UK, for the British market.)
Twenty-two dogs were involved in the filming of the ad, and none of them were equipped with doggy goggles.
Thus those dogs, like my dog, were exposed to the danger of dirt, rocks, dust and debris that could harm their eyes; or ear damage that can result from them flapping too fiercely in the wind; or the possibility of falling out of the window.
The ad makers, judging from this behind-the-scenes “making of” video (below) seemed to exercise care and take precautions with the dogs.
But I’d be interested in hearing what you think. Will the ad be viewed as putting dogs in danger, or letting dogs be dogs? Is it joyous, or worrisome, and do you think it’s going to sell many Volkswagens? As for me, I was too busy looking at the dogs to notice the cars at all.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, advertising, animals, automobiles, breeds, car windows, cars, commercial, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, hanging, head, marketing, nose, open, out, pets, sales, smelling, volkswagen, window, woof in advertising
The most recent case was Monday night, when someone threw a blue-nose pit bull named Dallas from a brown Cadillac, Harrisburg police said.
Cpl. Deric Moody said a witness saw the dog thrown from the car and called police. The dog suffered an apparent broken leg and other injuries, and was being treated at a veterinary hospital near Mechanicsburg, according to the York Dispatch.
Shortly after officers arrived to interview the witness, Dallas’ owner showed up at the scene. He told police that the dog disappeared after he let him out earlier. Police believe the unattended dog was likely stolen.
On March 5, someone threw a dog from a speeding silver or gray pickup truck on Route 30 in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, near the Marietta Pike overpass. That dog, a shiba inu later named Sherman (pictured above), was taken to the Humane League of Lancaster County and is recovering from his injuries.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, blue nose, cadillac, car, cruelty, dallas, dog, dogs, harrisburg, investigation, pennsylvania, pets, pit bull, police, sherman, shiba inu, thrown, tossed, vehicle, window
Breed: Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix
Encountered: At a stoplight in Tillamook, Oregon
Backstory: I’m not sure what this little dog was so upset about, but when I pulled up alongside, he or she barked away — right up until the light turned green.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barking, breeds, car, chihuahua, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, encounter, oregon, pets, roadside, roadside encounters, stoplight, tillamook, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, window