Don’t Prosecute Man Who Saved Dog Left Inside Hot Car

yorkshire terrier

Target: Oconee County Chief Judge David R. Sweat

Goal: Drop all charges against army veteran who rescued a dog trapped inside a hot car.

Michael Hammons, an army veteran, was arrested for smashing the glass of a sweltering vehicle to rescue a dog trapped inside. The Yorkshire terrier allegedly displayed signs of distress, drawing attention from nearby onlookers, and Hammons acted immediately to save the dog’s life.

Although his quick actions spared the small dog from possible death, the owner told deputies to press charges. Hammons was eventually arrested and charged with criminal trespassing; if convicted, he may face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The owner, however, was charged with animal cruelty, which will only result in a $250 fine and hours of community service.

Hammons had first witnessed the trapped dog inside a sweltering vehicle when a crowd of onlookers gathered to wait for police. The dog was allegedly panting vigorously and did not appear to have water. Rather than wait for police to arrive, Hammons’ veteran instincts kicked in, and he grabbed the footrest of his wife’s wheelchair to smash the window in. The day’s weather had been around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which can climb to 114 degrees inside of a car. Additionally, although the dog’s owner claimed that she had only been gone for a few minutes, witnesses say it was much longer.

Rescuing a life should not be punished. Please sign this petition to drop all charges against Michael Hammons.


Dear Judge David R. Sweat,

Army veteran Michael Hammons was arrested and charged after he saved a dog left inside a sweltering vehicle by smashing one of the windows. The dog’s owner insisted on pressing charges against him, and now he may be facing up to a year in prison and a hefty fine. In comparison, the owner’s animal cruelty charge will only entail community service and a much smaller fine if she is convicted.

There is something incredibly wrong with this picture. Why should Hammons suffer a much heavier punishment for his heroic actions while the owner can get away with a mere slap on the wrist? She endangered a dog’s life and should be the one receiving harsh punishment instead.

Dogs should never be left inside a car with the windows rolled up and without water. The temperature had reached 86 degrees outside but could climb up to 114 degrees inside a vehicle. Hammons did the right thing by breaking the car’s window to rescue the dog that onlookers claimed to be panting heavily and in distress. I am urging you to drop all charges against Michael Hammons.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Csar13

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  1. Jeanine mayhall says:

    Thanks to that man. The animal is safe. He was doing what anyone else who has a heart for life.

  2. Lilian Caughlin says:

    Laws need to be changed. Meanwhile we have to do what we have to do. A citation of any kind is far better than having to live with yourself from the moment that you decide to NOT save a life. The choice is easy.

  3. I have signed the petition, but unfortunately it is not likely to make a difference. The problem is that the decision to press charges or not falls to the so called “victim” the owner of the car. I absolutely agree that the laws need to be changed to give a more fitting punishment for this horrific crime against defenseless pets. I also believe there should be some type of protection in the laws, similar to the Good Samaritan Act for people who offer first aid to others, which would prevent a person being charged with a simple property damage crime.

  4. I also wonder why the name of the car/dog owner is not being released in this report? Maybe if it were, this woman might be shamed into reconsidering her choice to press charges. After all, it is nothing more than revenge, insisting that the charges be filed. I say let her get the feel for public opinion of her actions and her choices. To be clear, I am NOT talking about any types of threats or violence against the woman, but by protecting her identity, she is not being made to face any real consequences for her actions, is she?

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