Man Cited After Breaking Window to Free Dogs Locked in Car at Ohio Walmart

PARMA, Ohio – Surveillance video released by police in Parma, Ohio shows how a Cleveland man went from hero to the wrong side of the law in the span of just minutes after police say he used a hammer to rescue two dogs left in a car.

"I wanted to get that puppy out of there and make sure that he was okay," said Richard Hill. "So at that point I decided to grab a hammer and went ahead and broke the window."

Hill said the incident began around 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Walmart on Ridgewood Road. Hill described noticing a car alarm going off as he walked into the store. Upon exiting, about 30 minutes later, he said the car alarm continued to sound so he went closer to investigate. Hill said he noticed several bystanders surrounding the car telling him two dogs were inside.

He said he told Walmart personnel to make an announcement while a bystander called 911.  Hill admits he knew police were on their way when he grabbed his hammer and smashed the window. He told WJW he decided to act because one of the dogs, that appeared to be a puppy, wasn't moving.

"The officer was upset with me, told me that I needed to wait on him, that I should not have done that," said Hill.

Police have a different account of events, arguing they were informed about the dogs at 4:08 p.m. and arrived just minutes later at 4:12 p.m. Authorities said it was not an abnormally hot day and the sunroof and windows were open or cracked.

"The temperature that day was about 78 degrees," said Sgt. Dan Ciryak. "So we don't condone leaving dogs in hot cars but what's reasonable and not unreasonable?" It's not known how hot it was inside the car before Hill broke the window.

When asked if Hill should have been cited, Ciryak continued, "What do you say to the victim? She went in to buy one item. It's not like she came out with a cart full of items."

The owner of the dogs, Carly Hartman, told WJW over the phone, "I love my dogs, would never put them in danger."

Hartman said she went into the store for less than 15 minutes and now cannot drive her new car, which police describe as a 2018 Audi, because the passenger window is shattered.

Police cited Hill for criminal damaging, yet he says he does not have regrets about how he acted.

"I even told the officer I would do it again, in a heartbeat," Hill said.


    • peatermoss

      So if this person lives alone and wants to go to the store, and pets are Not allowed in the store, then you expect them to call a dog sitter that you think is on standby just for these occasions.
      GET REAL
      Besides that m, the PO PO was already on the way, this guy is just another nut job that got what he wanted.
      His name in the news !!

      • straubdavid9

        Isn’t 20/20 hindsight wonderful. Gives you the ability to judge people based on post results. Sometimes the police are “on their way” and take seconds. and other times they are delayed. Let’s play “what ifs” ……. what if those police were diverted to a much higher priority call? What if they were involved in an accident ….. what if ……….. You may be right, but since you were not there, and not involved in the scene that this person encountered with all the other concerned people surrounding the car, you don’t know how you may have reacted. You could be told the “cops are on their way” while looking at the situation, and say “screw that … I’m not waiting …. I’m acting”. I’m not going to judge this person in this instance. Once the sun is beating down on a vehicle, it doesn’t take long for it to heat up, regardless of how comfortable you may be standing on the outside looking in. You have the right to your opinion ….. now you’ve heard mine. Have a great day.

      • peatermoss

        What if this car belonged to the guy that smashed the window, and he had locked himself out, according to the police in the story.

        Authorities said it was not an abnormally hot day and the sunroof and windows were open or cracked.

        This guy would have used these openings to gain entry, or would have called, AAA, a tow truck or the police.
        Or what if the owner was just feet away when Mr.
        I want My Moment of Fame, broke the window.

      • straubdavid9

        “At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees.” “When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172.”

      • peatermoss

        Windows were open, and nowhere in this story did it say that the dogs were taken to a vet to get evaluated, therefore the dogs were not in danger.

  • straubdavid9

    Damned if you do ….. damned if you don’t. A car is a very small space that can heat up VERY quickly.

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