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Life lesson of the week: "No good deed goes unpunished." - Wicked
In Georgia, Michael Hammons, hero to animal lovers, saved a dog from a hot car, and was awarded with a pair of handcuffs. This debacle all started when Hammons and a group of shoppers noticed a dog left inside a Mustang convertible on a hot day. While other shoppers called police, Hammons, an Army veteran, jumped into action. He used his wife's wheelchair leg to smash the window and save the dog.
When the dog's owner finally came out of the store, she was definitely not grateful for Hammons' rescue. The owner claims that she was only in the store for five minutes, and demanded that Hammons be arrested. Chief Deputy Lee Weems told WAGA-TV that officers did not want to arrest Hammons but had to because the car owner insisted on pressing charges.
Hammons was charged with criminal trespass, and the owner was cited for leaving her dog in a hot car.
When most people think of trespass, they think of going onto property without the property owner's permission. This is true. However, Georgia also classifies the intentional destruction of another person's property causing up to $500 of damage without permission as criminal trespass.
Here, Hammons did admit to police that he destroyed the Mustang's window. In Georgia, criminal trespass is a misdemeanor, and if found guilty, Hammons could face up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Up to a year in jail? That doesn't seem fair reward for saving a life. According to Hammons, the temperature outside the car was about 80 degrees and the temperature inside the car could have reached up to 114 degrees. The dog was panting and in distress! Or so he thought. Wasn't he justified in his actions?
Not under the law he isn't. Georgia law does allow people to break car windows to save children without punishment. However, that law does not apply to pets and animals. Animal advocates claim that they are working to change to the law.
Regardless, Hammons doesn't seem like he'll mind the consequences as he told WAGA-TV, "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."
Mr. Hammons, we hereby induct you into the FindLaw Animal Lover Hall Of Fame for people who would sacrifice their freedom for the love of animals.