Ohio Man Smashes Car Window to Rescue Dogs, Receives Citation

The dogs were left in an SUV with the windows slightly opened.

Dog left alone in locked car. Abandoned animal in closed space. Danger of pet overheating or hypothermia. Owner's negligence and health threat
Kyryl Gorlov—Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ohio resident, Richard Hill, received a citation for criminal damaging as a result of his efforts to rescue two dogs from a locked vehicle, according to USA Today.

While in the parking lot of a local Walmart, Hill noticed people crowding around a parked SUV. He saw that inside the SUV were two dogs and that the people standing around the vehicle were concerned for the dogs' safety.  

One of the bystanders called 911 to inform police of the situation, while another attempted to contact the owners of the SUV from inside the Walmart. The police were notified and arrived shortly thereafter, but before they did Hill took a hammer to one of the windows of the SUV.  

"I really felt that this dog needed to be out right then and there. I had no idea how long it was going to take you guys to get here," said Hill in an interview with ABC News

After assessing the situation, police determined that the circumstances surrounding the incident did not warrant Hill breaking the window.  Surveillance video showed police being called to the scene only a couple of minutes after the owners of the SUV left their vehicle and entered the Walmart.  

The police say the SUV had an open panoramic sunroof along with windows that were left slightly open.  For these reasons, police did not believe the dogs were in any danger.  

According to an Ohio law that was passed in 2016, in situations such as this, a person is immune from liability if the vehicle is locked, local law enforcement, or other emergency services are contacted beforehand, and that forcible entry is necessary due to an animal being in imminent danger.  

"This is why nobody will do anything," Hill said. "They're too worried, too afraid that they're going to get in trouble. So plenty of people just keep on walking."  

Hill was not arrested, only given a citation and a court date where he will have the chance to explain the reasoning for his actions to a judge.