• Veteran arrested after breaking into car to rescue dog


    CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. - Saundra Hammons says she has always been very proud of her husband.

    "Michael is very caring, very loving.  He will do anything for anybody, or as you see, anything,” Hammons said.

    Over the weekend, Michael Hammons believed that he was faced with a matter of life or death. With the footrest of his wife’s wheelchair, the Desert Storm veteran took action.

    "Michael just showed up out of nowhere, carrying this big metal object.  We're like, ‘What's going on?’ Then he started smashing the windows. We're like, ‘Wow,’" Diane McGuire-Byard said. 

    Byard saw it all in the parking lot of an Athens area shopping center. She said it was a hot day, and a small dog was closed up in a hot car.

    "The dog was going to die. Nobody was there to help. He was a hero we thought,” McGuire-Byard said.

    Michael Hammons did not end up with a medal for saving the day.  He ended up in jail for breaking into the car. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said the vehicle’s owner was not happy.

    "She pressed charges for criminal trespass. It was not an arrest made by the deputy's own volition.  The woman pressed charges for breaking out the window of the car, and the deputy did what he had to do,” Chief Deputy Lee Weems said.

    The sheriff’s office said animal control cited 22-year-old Elantra Cunningham for leaving the pet in a hot vehicle.

    A call from Channel 2 Action News to her cellphone was not returned. 

    Michael Hammons did not feel up to talking about it.  His wife said that to him, every life is important.

    "They're leading the blind. They are helping people who have Alzheimer's, and those who have autism. So they're more than just a dog,” Saundra Hammons said.

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