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Army Vet Arrested After Saving Dog From Hot Car

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Army veteran Michael Hammons is under arrest – and he says he wouldn’t think twice about breaking the same law that landed him in jail all over again.

When Hammons arrived at an Athens, Georgia shopping center, he was met by several shoppers standing around a car, concerned for a dog inside, with the windows rolled completely up, no water, and showing signs of distress. The concerned shoppers had already called police, but Hammons couldn’t stand to leave the dog suffering until help arrived.

“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,” he explained to MyFoxAtlanta.

Using the footrest of his wife’s wheelchair, Hammons broke the car window to retrieve the dog, a tiny Pomeranian mix.

When the owner came outside, she was irate.

“She said you broke my window, and I said I did. She says why would you do that? I said to save your dog.” said Hammons.

The owner insisted she’d only been inside the store for about 5 minutes, although other shoppers insist the was away for much longer. When police arrived, she insisted that charges be filed against the man that saved her dog.

The Oconee County Police Chief Deputy Lee Weems said he understands why Hammons did what he did. And, although they didn’t want to charge him with any crime, they had no choice because of the car owner’s insisting.

“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,” said Chief Weems.

Michael Hammons served in the Army in Desert Storm. As a result, he battles PTSD and feels a very strong need to help others, including animals, in the face of 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,” said Saundra Hammons.

The dog owner was also cited with leaving a dog in a parked car.

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  1. Avatar Of Lucifer J. Mccormick

    Lucifer J. McCormick


    R. Crockett Jan 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Here is the problem:

  2. Avatar Of R. Crockett

    R. Crockett


    I can post a photo to prove that he is guilty of vandalism and the dog was in no danger. It wasn’t hot, the car was in the shade and the rear window, you know, the one right behind the one he broke, was all the way down and the dog could have jumped out. He may need help but he is dangerous and he could have injured the little dog. Tell me how and I will post a before and after photo here.

  3. Avatar Of R. Crockett

    R. Crockett


    Here is the problem: 1) It wasn’t hot. 2) The car was parked in the shade. 3) He broke the front driver side window while the back driver side window was down. 4) Witnesses saw that the dog was not showing signs of heat stress. 5) Had there been need why not reach in the open rear window and unlock the front door our coax the dog out the open rear window?.

    I became interested when this guy wanted to play the Veteran Hero. He is no hero. I have the photos proving he broke a the window right next to the open window. He may have mental issues or a tin god complex but he is no hero and an extremely bad example for Vets.

    When the media posts lies sympathizing with criminals like this, it does disservice to all those truly injured.

  4. Avatar Of Lance Cariaga

    Lance Cariaga


    Stupid, selfish dog owner.

  5. Avatar Of Wooster



    Just because something is the law, that doesn’t mean it’s right. Most laws are nothing but revenue generators for the state, county, or city you live in. Most are made up from crooked politicians who have no interest in anything other than caving to the special interest groups he he help him get elected to he can keep hos job and paycheck. Then you have the cops who are nothing but little sheep who enforce such laws like these because they don’t want to lose their little paycheck. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you did the right thing. This man will sleep well at night knowing he did. The cop will not and hopefully the worthless prosecutor will not either.

    • Avatar Of R. Crockett

      R. Crockett


      Off your soap box now? Did you know it wasn’t hot, the car was in the shade and the back window behind the one he broke was all the way down? He could have reached in and opened the front door or pulled the dog out the back window. The dog was not stressed and could have jumped out anytime. I have the photos to prove it.

  6. Avatar Of Billy Sargent

    Billy Sargent


    You have to choose; emotionalism or rationality? Perhaps it comes to a point where you must break the window but before you get to that point you’d better have called 911 and at the vehicles on her page in the store.
    And before anybody climbs all over me about picking on a veteran, I’m a disabled veteran of the same vintage. It makes things tough for sure but it is in no wise justification, rationalization or excuse.

  7. Avatar Of Jill Jill says:

    Way to go, Hero! You saved a life that couldn’t defend himself/herself. Good for you! That “owner” should be arrested, fined, thrown in jail AND in a hot car for what she did. She doesn’t deserve to have an animal. Shame on her. Kudos to the veteran!! Thank you for continuing to defend our freedoms and the freedoms of those that have no voice. God Bless You!!

  8. Avatar Of Suzee Kaanoi

    Suzee Kaanoi


    As it has been mentioned in several articles, the police officer did stated he did NOT want to arrest Mr. Hammons, but AS a police officer, he had no choice. He could not act according to his emotions, he had to follow the law. Hopefully, all the publicity generated by this cade, the charges will be dropped and the dog will be in the best situation possible.

    • Avatar Of Kent Riegel Jr



      Hi My name is JOHN K JR. The Vet SHOULD NOT BE ARRESTED….
      Is The Vet Still In Jail, I would LIKE TO HELP HIM..
      If So, PLEASE Contact ME @ [email protected]
      Or Call My Office @ 1-302 660-5658. I will also LOOK INTO HAVING THE DOGS OWNER


      • Avatar Of R. Crockett

        R. Crockett


        Rear window, the one right behind the broken window was all the way down. The dog could have jumped out, PV could have unlocked the front door instead of breaking the window but the dog was not in any stress until this lunatic broke the window and dragged the little dog out. So now that you made a fool of yourself, are you going to help the poor woman whose car was vandalized?

  9. Avatar Of Charlie



    I’d leave that dumb broad in a hot car for 30 minutes w/o water & a fur coat on to show her what it’s like. PLUS, tape her mouth shut so she can’t pant to relieve the heat as most animals do.
    KUDOS to our veteran for his actions!

    USMC 1974

    • Avatar Of Chrys



      I believe an eye for an eye; the owner should be put in the hot car & see how she likes it. Good for the Veteran for his actions, but sorry he had to go to jail

    • Avatar Of R. Crockett

      R. Crockett


      Only, it wasn’t hot, the car was in the shade and the rear window behind the one he broke out was all the way down. What say you marine, you find a car with the rear window rolled all the way down so the dog could jump out if it wanted, do you reach in unlock and then open the front door or do you smash the window in and bark for the dog to get out?

  10. Avatar Of Mary Hucherson

    Mary hucherson


    That owner should be ashamed of herself!! She should have that dog taken away from her!!!

  11. Avatar Of Mildred



    What? The person who left the small dog locked inside the car, was supposed to be the person arrested, not the veteran.

  12. Avatar Of Denis



    My understanding is that :
    1) The FBI has classified animal cruelty as a Class A felony (2014)
    2) Breaking a window to rescue an animal is therefore an act to prevent a felony.
    3) The charges are brought under state law.
    4) Under the supremacy doctrine, preventing a federal crime takes precedence over the (potential) commission of a state crime.
    5) Therefore he is not guilty of any offence.

    • Avatar Of Laurena



      I agree. Hopefully, this will come out, and exonerate the man who did the right thing. The lady should check her behavior, and be grateful someone cared enough to rescue her dog.

    • Avatar Of Bonnie Pederson

      Bonnie Pederson


      He is guilty of kindness, compassion and doing the right thing in spite of the consequences to himself. God Bless Him!

      There should be a petition to drop all charges.

  13. Avatar Of Graciela Martinez

    Graciela Martinez


    How unfair is that????. He saved. Dog and goes to jail. The dog’s owner left it to suffer and is angry!!!!!

  14. He did well , he is a hero who saved a poor dog when an irresponsible owner left it in danger. He should not be in jail!!!!

  15. Avatar Of Kelly



    m.facebook.com/elantra.cunningham?fref=ts that’s the Facebook address to the “owner” who is now claiming “less than 30 minutes” and I have that comment saved in my phone from her commenting on one of the posts on Facebook

    • Avatar Of Lois Goldman Lois Goldman says:

      Every one email her and call Chief Dep. Lee Weems at Oconee Co. in Athans GA
      and the SPCA in the county and have her dog taken away.

      • Avatar Of Cw Smith

        CW Smith


        Lois, while I commend your diligence in repeatedly posting the same request, please note a few things:
        1. Oconee County is seated in Watkinsville, not Athens.
        2. Even if it were, it is Athens, NOT Athans
        3. Scott Berry is the Sheriff, Lee Weems is the Chief Deputy, and he didn’t want to charge the guy in the first place.
        4. People are not going to look up this information, so here you go:

        Phone: (706) 769-3945 Fax: (706) 769-3978
        Scott Berry
        [email protected]

        Lee Weems
        Chief Deputy
        [email protected]

    • Avatar Of D



      well it’s deleted now. Lol

  16. Avatar Of Ks Gourley

    KS Gourley


    She thinks she won this battle. The judge should throw the book at HER and increase her fine and let the Hero walk with no charges or fines. She should be ashamed of herself for leaving the dog in the car! Use that phone call to the police as the time clock on just how long she was gone….I’m sure the folks showed up AFTER the dog was left, but that call would at least give a starting point….. YAY FOR THE HERO!!!

  17. Avatar Of Brenda



    No, no, no, he should not be arrested!!!!!

  18. Avatar Of Val Sovinski

    Val Sovinski


    Thank you sir for saving the life of that dog. Give me three minutes with that POS owner and she’ll be singing a different tune.

  19. Avatar Of Tracey tracey says:

    Why wasn’t the woman charged for animal cruelty, and the dog removed from her care. This officer was wrong and it’s a crime for what she did, class A felony!!

    • Avatar Of Lois Goldman Lois Goldman says:

      Yes you are quite right. Let us call local human society and report her.Call Police Chief De. Lee Weems Athans GA

      • Avatar Of Suzee Kaanoi

        Suzee Kaanoi


        Lois, I really applaud your enthusiasm. However, continued emotional responses are really not going to accomplish anything productive. C.W.Smith posted all the relevant information to contact the proper authorities. I think that is the best step to take, if we really want to see anything happen to help Mr. Hammons. Authorities respect a practical, common sense approach, not emotionalism. Imho

    • Avatar Of Boo



      The officer was not wrong. As he stated, he didn’t want to charge him but had to. The officer did his job as the law requires him to.

  20. Avatar Of Debbie



    Arrested him ? He should have gotten a metal for compassion.

  21. Avatar Of Heather



    What the? Living in Arizona you see idiots who leave their pets and or children in cars each summer..they ALL say they are only going to be in the store for a minute.
    I hope a pet loving attorney steps up and takes his case. He should be applauded, and that the creep who left her dog in the car, how about naming her. She should be ashamed. Why take your pets out with you if you aren’t taking them for a run in the park? I would love to leave her in a hot car minus water for about 30 minutes. Bring her to Phoenix in July and lets she if the idiot changes her mind.

    • Avatar Of Lois Goldman Lois Goldman says:

      A locked car in 85 degree temp. is equal to a 140 degrees in side the car.
      SPCA notified and fine her and take dog away,
      Call Chief Dep Lee Seems Oconee Co, Athans GA

  22. Avatar Of D'Ann Rauh

    D'Ann Rauh


    Sgt. Weems you have locked up the wrong person! Can’t beleive you had to arrest this man. You should have held up for the dog and thisan that saved its life. If the dog could talk it would probably tell you this is probabLy not the first or the last time this person has done this. What time is it gonna be that when she fony comes out the dog will have died because of Bei g left in a hot automobile! This man did the right thing and you are punishing him. Sir you are Bei g so unfair! Hope charges are dropped!!!

  23. Avatar Of Paulette Acosta

    Paulette Acosta


    Thank you for saving the dog, I would have done the same. The one that should have been arrested is the owner of the dog. What kind of idiot leaves a dog in a car this time of year? She should lose her dog. If she could do it to a dog she could do it to a child. Would the police there arrest someone for breaking a window to save a child too?

  24. Avatar Of Nancy



    hell no , how about the owner gets charged and this man gets honored for being a hero for doing a good deed and saving a life

  25. Avatar Of Terry V

    Terry V


    Since when do good deeds go punished and bad deeds go unpunished. There is something wrong with the world. No wonder why it’s a mess. This guy did the right thing.

  26. Avatar Of Tom Douthat Tom Douthat says:

    That woman’s name and picture should be posted everywhere telling what she did to that dog and then to that veteran !!!

  27. Avatar Of Sharion Henley

    Sharion Henley


    I commend the Veteran for doing what he did. And the woman who chose to press charges against him for rescuing her dog should not be allowed to own a dog. I’m glad she got cited for leaving the dog in the car.

  28. Avatar Of Leslie



    How about charging the owner for animal cruelty? I bet that would get her to drop the charges.

  29. Avatar Of Kandy Akers Kandy Akers says:

    I would have done the same thing..the person that was in the store while her dog was probably in 170 degree car dying should be fined ..the man is a hero in my eyes..God Bless him for saving this poor dog !!! Who knows when the police would have shown up..it takes our police 45 minutes to get to us if we call..he did the right thing and I hope the dogs owner realizes this ..if she thinks about it ? After all she sure didn’t think about leaving her dog in a hot car while she shopped. !!!

  30. Avatar Of Tammy



    THE OWNER should have been the one arrested. Glass can be replaced the dog’s life can’t. SHE did wrong! If they wanted to do something they should have just told her they would bill him for the glass or require him to have it fixed but he should NOT have been arrested. HE IS A HERO for sure, The cops were WRONG. This is another case of IRATE and irrational people getting their way like a 2 year old throwing a fit,, I see it every day. Our society rewards this tantrum behavior now by giving them their way. The police need to dismiss the charges NOW!!!!

  31. Avatar Of David Sena

    David Sena


    Her citation will stick, however it is unlikely the DA will want to prosecute Michael.

  32. Avatar Of Patricia Baumann

    Patricia baumann


    She is the one that should have been arrested. That is ridiculous!!

  33. Avatar Of Sue Sue says:

    So glad that man saved the little dog’s life, he did what more of us need to do when we see an animal shut up in a car when temperatures are high. Morons, like the owner of the dog, shouldn’t even have pets. Five hours or five minutes, it makes no difference! Laws need to be tougher on animal abusers. Thank you, Mr. Hammons!

  34. Avatar Of Maria



    The man should get a reward ,for saving the dog life,the owner should get a ticket for putting the dog danger.i wish that they pass a law ,where driver could not leave animals inside car,give pet owner a ticket co lock them up

  35. I applaud him!!!!!! Great job!!!! I hope the charges get dropped and I hope the owner of the pup gets charged with the abuse!

  36. Avatar Of Ma



    leave the guy alone he did right that woman now needs to be taught a lesson

  37. Avatar Of Donna Harr Donna Harr says:

    My husband and I have found over the years that the best way to contain the grief over losing a loved and very loving dog is to get another one as soon as you can. We never forget our previous pets and still tear up a little when telling a special story, but the joy, laughter and love from a new pet means everything to us.

  38. Avatar Of Maxine



    the woman needs to be charged with animal abuse. The veteran should be given a medal.

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