Preventing Tragedies…Dogs Hit by Cars

It’s taken me many weeks to even think about or write about this, but I know it is truly important and even if one person rethinks their position on this issue I feel it is worth it to potentially save one dog (or cat).  I’m sorry if I upset or anger anyone with my post, but that is nothing compared to how devastated I have felt each time I have heard about or witnessed one of my neighbors’ dogs or cats being hit by a car…

According to Animal People Newspaper, >1.2 million dogs were killed on U.S. roads in 2012, and most of them were likely chasing something…a ball, a child, a cat, a squirrel.  And, >5.4 million cats per year were killed on U.S. roads most of them at night. Check out this link for more information on Roadkill Avoidance Tips:

I live on a very busy four lane highway road and in the past five years FIVE dogs and THREE cats have been hit by cars and KILLED in an area that encompasses less than 1/8 of a mile!  All of these poor pets suffered and died needlessly due to their owners’ reckless actions… Incredibly five of my pet owning neighbors all allowed their pets free access to their (unfenced) front yards that border the roadway.  And, four of the five neighbors have fenced back yards!  I don’t live on a dead end street or out in the sprawling countryside (not that it really matters), rather, I live on a major roadway.  I just don’t get it!

Two days before Thanksgiving around 8:00 p.m. (very dark outside) I was sitting at my desk inside my house when I heard horrific screams and yelps… My husband also heard a loud thud from inside our basement!  One of my neighbor’s 30 lb dog had run across the road (again) and was hit by a car.  Honestly, I knew it was only a matter of time that this poor dog would die such a horrible death, but no matter how many times I mentioned seeing the dog running in or near the road to the owner, it always fell on deaf ears.  Sadly, this was not the first time that this particular dog had been running freely about the neighborhood over the past several years.  Actually the town police had been called to this particular house twice in the past year by motorists who had nearly hit the dog… I’m not trying to be insensitive here, but I’m so sickened over this situation as it was so preventable.  Not to mention, our entire neighborhood heard about it each time one of the other above-mentioned pets was killed by a car… shouldn’t that have been enough for anyone to reconsider letting their dog run freely near the road?  Really?!

My husband and I ran to help the dog and I covered him with a blanket as he was in shock and in tremendous pain.  The owner was apparently in shock too, but I couldn’t even look at her because I was so angry and upset and had to be careful not to say something I would regret or feel bad about later!  The police arrived along with the couple who had hit the dog and another good Samaritan (with a young toddler in the car) who had also witnessed the tragedy.  This poor young man was riddled with guilt and he and his girlfriend were visibly shaken and crying with the rest of us.  Even though this was obviously a terrible accident, this guy now has to live with the fact that he hit a dog who was now obviously in great pain and would ultimately have to be euthanized due to his severe injuries.

My husband drove to the vet hospital with my neighbor all the while holding the dog in the back seat and comforting him.  I picked up my husband from the vet hospital, but we did not know what the dog’s outcome would be, but judging from the impact and everything we witnessed, we figured it did not look good for the poor sweet dog.  I’m still amazed that our neighbor never called to let us know how her dog made out… no thank you… my blanket was never returned (not that I really care a bout a blanket, but no follow up whatsoever)!  Incredibly, while en route to the vet hospital, my neighbor declared that, “she just didn’t understand why her dog ran into the road as he never left her front yard.”  OMG… I give up!   I just heard that she just got another puppy recently… I can’t even think about it.

My dog trainer friend told me, “A dog is a dog is a dog and no matter how smart or well trained he is, he will always be a dog, not a human who is capable of critical thinking!”  And, over the course of my life I have heard variations of this tragic story literally hundreds of times and I can’t help but think (protected in my thought bubble of course!), why didn’t that pet owner have the dog in a fenced yard, or tethered/leashed, or even on an electric fence (though I don’t think I could go that route especially considering where I live).

All emotions aside, lets not overlook the obvious danger posed to motorists who may hit another vehicle or go off the road and hit a tree trying to avoid killing someones pet running in the road.  That’s why there are DOG CONTROL LAWS in every village, town and city.  The Dogging Question here:  How do people think that they have any control over a dog when the dog is not leashed, tethered or behind a fence?  Really?!  Laws are typically formed out of the need to protect the lives of people.  For arguments sake, let’s just say that the driver who hit my neighbor’s dog hit another motorist and was killed trying to avoid the dog… I’m sure there would be one heck of a lawsuit brought forth by his family… Something to really think about…  If the thought of losing ones’s beloved pet isn’t enough to keep the dog out of harms way, then maybe the thought of losing all one’s worldly possessions might!

I’m not heartless and I do realize that this type of tragedy is often just that a tragic accident where the dog escapes from his yard or someone opens a door and the dog runs out or jumps through a window out of fear… For those heart broken pet owners my heart absolutely breaks for them and the loss that they are experiencing.  I pray to God that I never experience this devastating event with any of my precious pets.  But, a situation where something so terrible could be 100% prevented is totally unacceptable in my opinion.  :-(

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4 Responses to Preventing Tragedies…Dogs Hit by Cars

  1. avatar Ben says:

    This morning, I was out jogging as usual well before dawn in a working/middle class area of Seoul, and I saw a dog reclining in the middle of a street. It was cute, about 15-20 pounds, brown and white middle-length hair, with a collar, in a resting position on its stomach, so I thought it was just resting there in the darkness, until I called to it try to get it get off the road … and then it turned its eyes to me and I saw it had been half smashed. It then reclined, putting its head onto the road and continued to look at me as I jogged by, with the light reflecting out of its eyes towards me as its dying gaze followed me, as if asking me for help.

    I swore then that if I ever see a dog running off a leash, and I know the owner, then I’m going to tell them this story.

  2. avatar heidi says:

    I just read all the posts. My heart goes out to all, but I have a twist to this. I just got my POS car a month ago on my way to work some careless owner let his dog run. I came over the hill and there he was! I honked tapped my breaks and lost control sliding sideways heading for a tree! I spun hit the bank and the end of my car hit a tree! It is now totaled! Plpd ! No car safe dog and bruises and whiplash! Thank you responsible owner! I’m now back to square one no car and hospital debt! :(

  3. avatar Wag The Dog says:

    Thank you for this post. I believe that street training should be taught to every single dog – all dogs should automatically stop and sit at all curbs, even when on leash (and when else, pray, should a dog be near a road, am I right??). Whenever one of my clients reports that their dog likes to “wander”, I give them the car lecture, recommend tie-outs, better fencing etc but it always falls on deaf ears.

    Your story breaks my heart and fills me with anger. I hope I never get a call back from one of those clients who never took my advice…

    • avatar KellyB says:

      Thanks for your comments. I really felt strongly that I had to share this tragic story as I’ve heard of so many people over the years with similar stories… Just hard to comprehend and very frustrating obviously. Why is it that it’s always the animals that have to suffer for the poor decisions that are made by the humans? Keep up the good works in your training endeavors.

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