A man who was cited for smashing a car window to rescue two dogs left inside a hot car appeared again in court Tuesday where a judge decided not to throw the case out.
On July 28, Richard Hill smashed the window to a car parked at Parma Walmart on Ridgewood Drive after he saw two dogs left inside a hot car. He pleaded not guilty during his preliminary hearing in August.
Another bystander at the scene paged the car's owner while another dialed 911, Hill said in an interview on July 30. The 911 call was made at 4:08 p.m., and according to Parma Police, an officer arrived on scene at 4:12 p.m.
In those four minutes, Hill had taken a hammer from his work truck and broken the car’s window to remove the dogs — what he believed to be the right thing to do and protected under an Ohio state law.
Looking back at that moment, Hill said if he had to do it again, he would do the same thing.
“This is why nobody will do anything, they’re too worried, too afraid they’re going to get in trouble. So that’s why people keep on walking,” Hill said.
However, Parma police believe his citation is justified because the circumstances didn't warrant breaking the car window.
Surveillance video showed the dogs were left in the car for less than ten minutes. According to the video, only eight minutes elapsed between the time the dog owner pulled in the parking lot and when police cited Hill.
Hill said he plans to contest the citation in court.
The Ohio law that went into effect in 2016 states that a person can be immune from liability if they forcibly enter a motor vehicle if the child or animal inside is in imminent danger, if they have called 911 and if all of the doors are locked. There is no specific timeline mentioned.
A new court date has not been set.