Ohio Man Cited for Criminal Damaging After Breaking Into a ‘Hot Car’ to Save 2 Dogs

An Ohio man thought he was doing the right thing earlier this week when he broke into a woman’s car on a warm day to rescue her two dogs — but the police didn’t see it the same way.

After breaking into a woman’s car with a hammer in a Walmart parking lot on Saturday, Richard Hill was cited for criminal damaging.

In a Facebook post shared on Saturday, Hill wrote that the incident occurred after he “noticed 2 dogs,” one of which appeared to be “maybe 2-3 months old,” that were “locked in a car with it being 79° at that time.”

While he went on to claim that the older dog was “jumping around” and setting off a car alarm, the younger dog was “just laying there not moving.”

“One of the bystanders called police,” he continued, adding that while the bystander said that the authorities were “in route,” he decided to break into the car anyway because “I felt they needed out right then and there.”

He also claimed that the dogs had been inside the car for “at least” 30 minutes.

However, Sergeant Dan Ciryak of the Parma Police tells PEOPLE that according to Walmart surveillance footage, “the dogs were in the car about 6 minutes before he smashed out the window.”

“The car pulled up at 4:05 p.m. into the Walmart parking lot,” Ciryak explains, adding that the driver was seen on the surveillance video 1 minute later exiting her car.

At 4:08 p.m. the authorities received a call “about a couple of dogs inside the car,” and as one of their officers had already been dispatched to Walmart in response to a call about shoplifting, that officer arrived at the parking lot 4 minutes later.

“As he was pulling up, this guy smashed out the window of the car,” Ciryak remarks, adding that according to the officer who responded to the call, not only were the rear windows and the sunroof of the car cracked open, but also “the dogs were both cool to the touch.”

“The male was cited because we don’t believe that these dogs were in any type of distress,” the officer explains.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About the New California Law that Makes it Legal to Smash a Car’s Window to Save an Animal Trapped Inside

Ohio passed legislation in 2016 protecting Good Samaritans rescuing pets or minors from hot cars.

The legislation, Senate Bill 215, grants legal protection to individuals, provided they contacted the police first and are able to prove that the pet or child was actually in danger and could not wait for the authorities to arrive.

“You absolutely do have to call the police department in order to be able to move forward,” Elysse Rathbone, Humane Agent for the Capital Area Humane Society, told NBC4I shortly after the bill was passed. “You have to be able to prove that this is an emergency or life threatening incident.”

RELATED VIDEO: Don’t Ever Leave Your Dog in the Car on a Hot Day

Carly Hartman, the owner of the dogs, told FOX 8 that she loves her dogs and “would never put them in danger,” adding that she can no longer drive her car because of the broken window.

Despite the citation, Hill told the outlet that he had no regrets about his actions.

“I even told the officer I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he added.

Hill has a court date schedule for Aug. 15, where he plans on fighting the citation, according to the Associated Press.

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