Dog in the Road

I hope you’ll forgive me for another post on an animal killed in the road.

My wife and I were returning from date night when we crested a hill and almost crashed into the back ends of about a dozen cars. They were all stopped in the three westbound lanes of Pioneer Crossing, Lehi Utah.

Moving erratically in the glaring beams of their headlights was a golden lab trailing a length of twine from his leather collar. The dog had a wide banner of blood painting his right shoulder and a leg he couldn’t use. By the time I made my way to him between the stationary cars he had collapsed.

I called to him from a few feet away. He looked up at me then tried and failed to rise. It was strangely silent there on the road. The rumbling of all those car engines seemed to emphasize the still of the  night, the harsh beams from their headlights the dark all around.

When I stood up with the dog in my arms I could hear him breathing, a bubbly sound. The stench of skunk rose from him. I carried him to the side of the road and the flow of traffic picked up and streamed off into the night. My wife pulled over and I put the dog in the back of our mini-van.

I started searching and calling on my phone, trying to find a vet that was open. The only place seemed to be in Orem, a good twenty minutes away. Before I could get hold of the hospital a mother and her son came walking up the road, the mother on her cell phone. They had been in the car that hit the dog and had come looking for him. The mother was calling the police dispatch. I told her I was taking the dog to an animal hospital and she asked me to call her to let her know how things turned out. She was obviously bothered by what had happened to the poor dog.

My wife and I were a good ten minutes on our way to Orem when I finally managed to contact the animal hospital. They were open but the woman told me they couldn’t treat any animals unless their owner’s were present. I assured her that I would pay for the dog’s treatment and sign papers to that effect if they wanted. Still no dice. She said, regret in her voice, that they legally could not treat an animal without its owner’s consent. My only choice was to call the police and have them send an animal control unit out to bring the dog to a shelter.

I was furious. I still can’t think of a good reason for such a law. But I had no choice at that point. They already knew who I was and that I was not the owner of the dog. So I called the cops.

They met us back where I’d originally picked up the dog. I went back to sit with the dog and found that it was no longer breathing. When the cops arrived they were unable or unwilling to put the dog in one of their trunks. So we followed the officers to the police station where they put the dog into the bed of the Animal Control vehicle where it sat in the parking lot. They thanked me for my trouble and my wife and I went home to clean blood out of my clothes and out of the back of the van.

The dog had been tied up with twine, presumably because it had gotten too close to a skunk. Stupid thing to tie a dog up with. There was no ID on the collar so no way to contact the owners.

It feels better having written about it. Thanks for listening.

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