August 7, 2018 Photos by: Maria Komar/Shutterstock
Richard Hill saw a car with two dogs in it on a hot July day and worried for the safety of the dogs. Knowing that temperatures can become deadly for dogs quickly, he thought he was a good citizen and champion for the dogs when he decided to break the car window to rescue the dogs.
He said that the small dog looked to be a baby, and the larger dog was maybe two-years-old. Passerbys who also saw the dogs went into the Walmart that was close by to see if they could find the owner and one called the police.
Hill was worried that the dogs would suffer waiting, though, so he took a hammer from his truck and smashed the window to let the dogs out and get them some water. Passerbys helped give the water, and the police arrived to see the dogs out and the window was broken. He believed it was necessary to save them.
The officer disagreed, however. Hill said that he thought that he had the legal right to break in based on Ohio law that said citizens had the right to break into cars provided the police were called and he’d tried to find the owners.
The officer felt differently, though, telling Hill he should have waited on the police regardless and issued him a citation. The owners of the dogs received no citation for leaving them on such a hot day and say that the sunroof was wide open.
Hill says that despite the law being on his side, getting the ticket wouldn’t stop him from doing it again, though he’d take pictures or videos next time to prove there was no way to rescue the dogs otherwise.
He told the police he was just trying to help the dogs, and had no reason to break the window otherwise, but the Parma, Ohio police say they have proof the ticket was warranted and Hill acted impulsively. They say that Hill only waited six minutes, and can defend himself and his actions in court.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the RSPCA sponsors the “Just Six Minutes” campaign that warns pet owners of the dangers that can happen to pets left in cars, in ‘just six minutes.’ The reality is, the law doesn’t state that the civilian has to wait for the police to come, and we hope that the judge in Hill’s case recognizes the injustice.
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!