Last week, witnesses saw what they reported to news media as a car deliberately aiming for two dogs that were playing by the road in North Wichita. That morning I had gotten a call from Pat Morris at Lifeline Animal Placement & Protection regarding a Great Dane at the Wichita Animal Shelter wondering if it might be the one that was lost. She relayed the events of the morning on her way to work as she passed the scene of a bad accident involving two dogs.
Morris saw that two dogs were lying in the road with Animal Control officers working on them. Being the rescue person that she is, she stopped to find out what happened and was told by a witness to the accident that a car had deliberately set up to run down the two dogs, they noted that someone had taken down the license number of the car. People at the scene were upset. All agreed that the driver had ample distance to avoid the dogs, but did not, appearing to go out of the way to strike them. Morris had to get on to work, but the scene and what the witnesses told her, stuck with her.
About three hours later, she got a call. It was a man who said he had the surviving dog (the male, who shielded his friend with his body, died on the way to the veterinarian), a female Pit Bull, in his car and he had been told that Morris could help. She noted that it is very rare that Animal Control will let an animal go to a passing Good Samaritan, but she directed the person on the phone to her vet for Lifeline. Later that day, when I stopped at the shelter to acquire another addition to our family, she told me that she had the injured dog at her vet and they would be needing help with the vet bill. The shelter is brimming with dogs and cats, stressing resources.
On April 28, KWCH ran a news story about the dogs and the survivor who was fighting for her life at the veterinarian. Witnesses interviewed made the same statements that they had to Morris when she stopped the day before. On April 29, the person who said he was the driver of the car, called police and admitted he had hit the dogs, saying it was an accident. He was “unhappy about the way he was portrayed” according a KWCH update which also noted that the police report that the driver will likely be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report that he hit the dogs.
This incident raises two important points: what to do if you should accidentally hit an animal, and did witnesses see an accident or a deliberate act of cruelty? Will justice for Shasta and her protective “brother” be served?
Those who work in rescue are skeptical. That witnesses reported the car sped up before hitting the dogs and crossed the center line, indicates an intentional act. It is possible the driver was on a cell phone or otherwise distracted and not paying attention. But not to stop when what would have been a very large “thump” and certainly yelps from the dogs occured is not something that anyone who cares about animals can understand. If you have ever heard the cry of an injured dog, you know that this is an almost unnatural sound that once you’ve heard it, you don’t forget.
The happy ending to this is that Shasta’s vet bill has been taken care of by those who saw the accident, and she has been adopted into a new home. One of the witnesses at the scene who stayed with Shasta until she got help, followed up on her stated desire to adopt her and has named her Mancha. Mancha is alive because her canine buddy protected her with his life and caring people saw that she got the lifesaving help she needed. If there is any question that dogs have feelings on the level of humans, that one dog would stand in the face of certain death for his friend should convince most skeptics that dogs do indeed feel caring and compassion at a level that rivals (and often exceeds) that of humans.
At this time, we don’t know who the dogs belonged to and how they wound up outside of their yard, or if they had perhaps been abandoned in the area.
Thanks go to the witness who called for help, to Animal Control for promptly responding to the scene, to the Good Samaritan who offered to get Mancha to care (and the person who told him about Lifeline), and to the quick acting person at the scene who got the license number of the car and to Morris at Lifeline, who said “yes” to helping the injured Mancha.
At a time when there are so many reports of unspeakable cruelty to animals, this is an example of people getting involved to get help for an animal they see wronged. There need to be more people willing to do so to prevent the thousands of Patricks currently suffering throughout the country.
What do you think? What would you do if it had been you who hit the dogs? Or saw something like this happen in your neighborhood?
Watch for future updates on Mancha on the Wichita Pet Rescue Examiner. If you aren’t already a subscriber, this might be a good time to sign up, it’s free.