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Man cited for criminal damage after rescuing dogs from hot car

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Man cited for criminal damage after rescuing dogs from hot car

An Ohio man was handed a citation for criminal damage after he smashed a car window to rescue two dogs. reports Richard Hill was leaving Walmart in Parma on Saturday when he saw two dogs locked in a vehicle. It was nearly 80 degrees and Hill was concerned for the animals.


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He grabbed a hammer from his truck and shattered one of the car's windows. Moments later, police arrived in response to a 911 call about the dogs.

"I explained the whole thing to him [the officer] as far as what was going on, and I felt that the dog needed to be out right then and there. [The officer] told me that I did not have that rights and I had to wait on him," Hill told ABC News. "I thought that I covered all of my bases based on the law stating that as long as I call 911; as long as I attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle and make sure that that is the only way of getting into the vehicle."

Nevertheless, Hill was cited.

Surveillance video showed the dogs were left in the car for about eight minutes after the owner parked at 4:04 p.m. Bystanders called 911 at 4:08 p.m., and Hill smashed the window at 4:10 p.m.

The dogs' owner returned after about 14 minutes and was not cited, which Hill found most upsetting. Still, he maintains he would do it again.

"I would have done everything the same," he said. "The only different thing I know I would end up doing is, I would actually take picture or video to fully cover all my bases, if something like this was to arrive I have all the evidence myself because now they are stating that the sun roof was wide open."

The Parma Police Department stands by the citation.

"He broke the window knowing the police were coming and it’s only been six minutes," said Parma police Sgt. Daniel Ciryak. "He was not physically arrested. He’s only cited and given a court case."

Senate Bill 215, also known as Ohio's "Hot Car" legislation, protects good Samaritans who rescue a child or pet in a hot vehicle. The law allows people to forcibly enter the vehicle prior to emergency personnel responding without the fear of litigation.

Ciryak said he doesn't think the incident was a "matter of life and death," especially considering the vehicle's sunroof was cracked.