Most of us have seen National Lampoon’s Vacation. And we laughed at the scene where the cop pulls over the family car because the annoying dog had been dragged behind it. That was a movie, though. It’s not funny at all in real life.
A Forsyth County, Georgia man was charged with animal cruelty when he dragged a German Shepherd behind his truck. 41-year-old Miguel Lechuga Sanchez was also charged with a DUI. For a trifecta, he was driving on a suspended license. He is being held on a $4680 bond.
Sheriffs were alerted to the situation when a witness called 911 when he saw the dog being dragged behind a pickup truck: the dog was tied to the bumper by a leash. Mere minutes after the report, a sheriff’s deputy spotted the truck and pulled it over. While one sheriff dealt with the driver, another rushed the dog to a veterinarian. It was treated for bruises on its neck and injuries to its paws. It will be put up for adoption after it heals, going to a caring forever home.
Here’s a report from Fox5 Atlanta:
It is not a common thing, thankfully, to see a dog dragged behind a vehicle. But what we do see a lot of is dogs in cars. That’s bad enough in the winter but, in the summer, it can be deadly. And animal lovers are getting serious about stopping it. At a Texas water park last week, a concerned dog lover posted a photo of the yellow Labrador inside a car to the Facebook pages of several animal rescue organizations.
The response was fast and intense: people showed up with bricks and hammers, ready to break the window and rescue the dog. Luckily, a water park employee noticed the crowd around the car and was able to reach into the small opening in the window, unlock the door and free the dog. The owner, who showed up after the park closed, was taken into custody and charge with animal cruelty. The dog is with a rescue organization.
What can you do if you see a dog in a hot car? To keep it legal, call 911 and report the car. Send someone into the store with the license plate number to page the owner. If the dog is showing the signs of heat stroke — excessive panting, seizures, bloody diarrhea, bloody vomiting or stupor — you may invoke the “necessity defense” and break the window. Otherwise, wait for the authorities. In any case, always call the police or fire department first. You might be prosecuted by the car owner so it’s up to you to weigh the risk.
Animal cruelty is a serious charge in most states. High-profile cases like that in Georgia can help expand that protection. The dogs can’t do it, so we have to help them.