Pudgy Pets - Ran over a dog what should I do?




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nana64
03-21-2009, 02:32 PM
I don't know where else to turn to. I hope I post this on the right place. I am feeling overwhelmingly depress right now. Here's the story yesterday night I went to pick up my mother at the bus stop and went to buy some take out. It was around 7:20 p.m. and it was really dark out. I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and was going around 25-30 miles per hour. When suddendly a small dog came across my path. I had no time to see it, it came right when I was going through the road. Now this road is the main street and its always extremely busy. Now I did stop and wanted to see what I could do. But my mother kept insisting that we have to keep going nothing I could do, lets just go home. So I did, I haven't had a wink of sleep since last night. I have been crying all day. As far as I know the dog was alone, had no collars or tags from the brief second I saw it. My aunt passed through there later that evening and nothing was there. Either the owners picked it up or maybe it survived I have no clue. But I feel guilty and have been extremely sadden by this event. I have two dogs of my own and I had one killed by a car and another almost killed. Any advice on how to cope with this. I haven't been able to do my college assignments or anything just thinking about this.


meowee
03-21-2009, 02:35 PM
IMHO, I think you might call either the Police or the local Humane Society or Animal Control authorities in your area. You will feel better for having done something, I think.

nana64
03-21-2009, 02:44 PM
I know the police won't do anything since, I try that before with my old dog that got ran over. He just said to get rid of it. I will try to locate the local humane society. Thank you for replying.


glitterducky
03-21-2009, 02:48 PM
oh no :( I know you didn't do it on purpose. It was an accident. A horrible one if that, but an accident. Maybe if you knew knew the owners or find it appropiate to do so, offer to pay for a new dog from a shelter. Forgive youself. Don't turn to food, and although this was tragic, accidents happen.

therese50
03-21-2009, 02:49 PM
I don't know if this would comfort you, but I really believe that everything that happens to us is a teacher. The dog had a purpose, and then his purpose was done. His death, in my opinion, was not an accident, but just another event that happened in a very intricate divine chaos. This event caused your heart to open even more, made you feel compassion. Most of us who have been driving a while have had something similar, or near misses, if you had swerved to miss it you may have been killed. Try if you can to let it go, and know that your intent was not to harm the dog, it just wasn't your fault. I'm sorry you're feeling so bad, it shows that you value life in all it's forms-how delightful.

nana64
03-21-2009, 04:26 PM
glitterducky- Unfortunetly I don't know the owners it was by itself at night. I would pay for the dog in a heartbeat if I knew who the owners were or where it came from. I know I must forgive myself but it will take me some time to get over it.

Therese50-Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. My mother said something similiar to those lines. In her country people believed when a dog died it was for a person. Thank you so much. I know this will be hard to surpass.

bargoo
03-21-2009, 05:44 PM
I think you should report it, it was an accident and the owners of this dog are wondering what happened to him/her. If you report it to the police they may be able to locate the owner. The dog may be microchipped which will locate the owner, or it may be taken to the humane society, the owners will be able to locate their pet there. Do you know if the dog was injured or killed ? If it were my dog I would want to know .Above all remember it was an accident.

Razz44
03-21-2009, 06:39 PM
Awww sorry to hear that nana. I'd second what others have said, maybe try calling the humane society and letting them know what happened. They might also have some more information for you...especially if someone else found the dog, they may have ended up calling them.

Its easier said than done, but just try and remember its not your fault. The dog ran out into the street, it was dark out, its not like you could have done anything. It could have happened to anybody, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

kelly315
03-21-2009, 07:09 PM
volunteer at your local animal shelter for a day or week. Helping other creatures might help you bring your life back into balance.

However, this stuff does happen all the time, and there really was nothing you could do.

nana64
03-21-2009, 08:07 PM
bargoo-I looked back briefly and the dog was just on the floor. People were avoiding it. My mother wouldn't let me out of the car. I don't think there is a local humane society in my town, I try looking. I will try to look again. Thank you.

Razz44-I know it could have happened to anyone. The circumstances weren't with me that day. But it is hard to cope with this. Again I will try to report it to locate the local humane society.

kelly315-Yea I know this kind of stuff happens all the time. Still you never thinks it will happen to you personally. Thank you very much. Letting this out is helping a lot.

flatiron
03-23-2009, 11:14 PM
I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and was going around 25-30 miles per hour. When suddendly a small dog came across my path.

This doesn't make any sense. If you are waiting for the light to turn green then you are stopped. How could you be going 25-30 mph??? And you said the dog ran across your path right when you went through the intersection? If a car is stopped at a stop light it would be awfully hard to get up to 30 mph from a dead stop to the middle of the intersection.

Not disputing you but it doesn't add up.

Now I did stop and wanted to see what I could do. But my mother kept insisting that we have to keep going nothing I could do, lets just go home. So I did, I haven't had a wink of sleep since last night. .

Your first instinct was to stop and give aid to the dog. But you listened to your Mother and drove on. I'm very sorry but your Mother was wrong. There was a lot you could have done. You could have made sure the dog was OK or if it was hurt you could have taken it to a animal hospital or called the police or at the very least direct traffic around the animal so it didn't get hit again.

I don't mean to make you feel worse than you already do but the reason you are feeling guilty is because you didn't follow your instinct and you listened to someone else. I would have pulled over and me and my Mother would have just have to have had words ... later AFTER I checked on the dog.

What's done is done and you cannot turn back the clock but you CAN try and do the right thing now. Try and find out what happened to that dog and make sure the owners know what happened.

You could offer to pay the vet bill if there is one or offer to buy a new dog if the dog is dead.

And I agree with others, it was an accident. You didn't mean to do it so don't beat yourself up about it.

good luck!

kaplods
03-23-2009, 11:38 PM
This may sound cruel, but under most circumstances, I would not offer to pay vet bills or for a new pet. The fault here is not with the motorist, but with the owner who allowed the dog to run. A dog, especially a small dog (but even a St. Bernard) is like a toddler - you do not allow them to wander without close human adult supervision. Allowing a dog to run, is asking for such an accident.

Rewarding or minimizing the consequences for the owner is not the appropriate response. Allowing the dog to escape may have been an accident, or it could have been gross negligence. However, either way, it's not your responsibility to determine which it was. Experience can be a harsh teacher, but it's not the motorists' responsibility when a dog allowed to run free is hurt or killed - it's the owner's.

If you feel you actually did something wrong, and could have prevented or ameliorated the accident or injury, at most you're 50% responsible, and I wouldn't consider offering any more. Is that cruel? Absolutely not, it's taking no more responsibility than you owe.

It's very possible, unfortuantely that the little dog was dumped. Most small dogs do not (or should not) have any opportunity to roam. Unfortunately, many dogs, but especially the small dog strays are premeditated dumps (it's amazing how many small dogs end up as "strays" in animal shelters, and they're much less frequently claimed by owners as larger dogs).

We lived next door to a family (the parents were very well educated, with excellent jobs) who let their small dogs roam. A yorkie, and a miniature poodle, and even after the yorkie was killed, they continued to allow the poodle to roam (the poor dog was also eventually killed by a car). This was in a very small town, without much heavy traffic, but a dog that small can be killed even at 5 miles an hour.

futuresurferchick
03-24-2009, 12:26 AM
This may sound cruel, but under most circumstances, I would not offer to pay vet bills or for a new pet. The fault here is not with the motorist, but with the owner who allowed the dog to run. A dog, especially a small dog (but even a St. Bernard) is like a toddler - you do not allow them to wander without close human adult supervision. Allowing a dog to run, is asking for such an accident.
.............

If you feel you actually did something wrong, and could have prevented or ameliorated the accident or injury, at most you're 50% responsible, and I wouldn't consider offering any more. Is that cruel? Absolutely not, it's taking no more responsibility than you owe.

What you say is true, that the owner (if there is one) bears some responsibility. You compare a small dog to a toddler in the sense of them being likely to run out in traffic and needing adult supervision, which is true, but if I am driving and I hit a toddler, am I not partially responsible? As you go on to say... at least 50%.

We all encounter obstacles on the road and we make split second decisions on how to react. Of course the reaction is different with a small dog and a human child, and rightfully so. Nana, I'm sorry this happened to you and it could easily happen to anyone. You did what made sense to you in the moment. :hug: Like others have suggested, I think you will feel better if you report the incident and try to restore some balance in some way that seems right to you. But forgive yourself, it sadly happens to a lot of people.

kaplods
03-24-2009, 04:39 AM
but if I am driving and I hit a toddler, am I not partially responsible? As you go on to say... at least 50% (actually I said "at most 50%" Given the situation as described, that would be my estimate - in most areas, the legal responsibility for such an accident - as described - is 0% and the owner is 100% responsible, unless the driver was driving recklessly, or broke traffic laws).

In a "People's Court" episode (or maybe it was a similar show) several years ago, a driver of a Porsche hit and severely injured a dog that darted into the road - and the driver sued the owners for the damage to his vehicle. They counter-sued for the animal's vet bills. The judge ruled, based on evidence and eyewitness testimony that the man could not have prevented injuring the dog, and therefore owed nothing to the owners of the dog, and the owner's were ordered to pay for the damage to the vehicle. Personally, I think the owner of the Porsche was a bit of a jerk to sue, but legally he had that right (and who knows - he said he only sued, because the owners were harrassing him about paying their dog's vet bills - which they denied).

As to my answer regarding your responsibility should you in driving hit a toddler - your percentage of blame or responsibility could be anything from 0% to 100% depending entirely on the situation. One of my close friends nearly did hit a toddler, instead the woman in the car ahead of him did. He was driving home at night (late at night, sometime between midnight and 2 am), on the interstate (speed limit 55 or 65 mph), and he saw the car ahead of him hit what appeared to be a doll (he said his mind could just not comprehend that there would or could be a child that small, or any human being for that matter darting into the highway like that). The woman stopped her car, and so did my friend (and many others once they realized what happened), but there was nothing anyone coud do. My friend and all of the people who stopped, regardless of which direction they were going when they saw the accident all agreed that none of them had seen the child on the shoulder or in the road until the impact or a split second before, seeing the child on a night that dark just wasn't possible.

Apparently, piecing together things later - the toddler (an 18 month old little boy) was at a wedding reception, and the parents lost track of him, but they figured he was "safe" among all the family at the reception. The little boy had apparently gotten outside and they think (because he loved Taco Bell) saw the taco bell sign in the distance and headed towards it, crossing the interstate to do so (the boy had walked quite a ways, as the accident site was in the middle of the highway, not near the parking lot of the reception hall at all). I believe it was nearly a mile that the little boy had walked.

Who was responsible, and to what degree? Morally? Legally?

My friend had pretty severe post traumatic stress from the incident (being a father himself, and seeing the boy hit and trying to help afterward), and from what he said, so did the woman who hit him. So who was responsible for the child's death? Who was responsible for the post traumatic stress of my friend and the woman who hit the child (she was traveling well within the the speed limit - and there was no way for her to see the child until he was in her path)?

The parents were not charged for neglect, and the woman was not charged for hitting the child, because there was no way she could have forseen the accident or prevented it - therefore she was 0% responsible for it though I'm sure she had many nightmares about it, trying to imagine a way in which she could have prevented it - my friend did and he wasn't even in the car that hit the little boy - I'm sure the parents did much the same thing, and maybe had a little more responsibility for the accident, but were punished rather harshly by the experience (that doesn't mean that anyone owes them compensation for their loss, nor that they're responsible for the harm caused to the people who witnessed the accident, though my friend had a hard time forgiving the parents, not that he said that to them in any way, it was just a difficulty he was having with coping with the aftermath of the accident).


A friend of our family has a husband who is a OTD truck driver, and a man (who was a childhood friend and neighbor of my brother and I) was standing by the roadside - appearing to be waiting to cross the road, and at the last second stepped out in front of the semi. The driver couldn't stop and killed the man. Was he at all to blame (he knows he isn't, but it gives him nightmares still, as well "if only" he had been able to guess the man's intentions, because he had realized it was odd for a man to be standing on the side of this particular road - but the guy was in a sweat suit and the driver just assumed he'd been jogging - his car was found parked some distance away (not visible from the road) with suicide notes to his family and soon-to-be ex wife)?

There are cases in which the driver who injures or kills an animal or even a person with their vehicle IS partially or entirely responsible for the outcome, but just being behind the wheel does not mean that the person gets at least 50% (or for that matter, any) of the blame. If you could not foresee or prevent the accident, you have zero responsibility (except to stop and do what you can for the victim and report the accident, that is a moral and legal responsibility if the accident victim is human - legally the responsibility is somewhat different with an animal, and varies from region to region).

futuresurferchick
03-25-2009, 10:18 AM
Kaplods, sorry for misquoting you. I see what you're saying, but I don't know, when I took driving lessons it was ingrained in me that there is no such thing as an "accident" but only "collisions". This was to remind us that as drivers we have that responsibility--that, at least in theory, every collision can be prevented by taking certain measures, not always in the moment of collision but before that. I'm not sure if I totally agree with that, but I definitely disagree that the measure ever goes to 0% responsibility for the driver.

kaplods
03-25-2009, 01:37 PM
I agree that few accidents are entirely unpreventable. However, a toddler, or an animal darting onto a highway at 1 am, comes fairly close. Sometimes things happen at a rate that is beyond human reflexes. In theory, I suppose you can say that a person can acheive 0% responsibility only by refusing to operate or be a passenger in a vehicle.

As part of my probation officer training, I took defensive driving classes, and we were similarly taught that most (but not all) collisions were preventable, however we were also cautioned against swerving or braking for small animals in heavy traffic or at night. Terrible to hit the critter, but getting killed or killing another human being because you swerved to miss the squirrel (or cat or dog), not generally a better option. As for the poor toddler, I don't think anyone could have been faulted for not expecting toddlers to dart into the road after midnight. The child was wearing dark clothing, and unlike critters of a similar height, human's dont have eyes that glow when reflecting light in the dark. One second he was hidden in shadow and the next he was in front of the vehicle (from the description I got second-hand, it's possible, but unlikely that another driver would have noticed the child in time, or maybe they would have swerved and hit another car, killing an entire family only to have the car behind them hit the child).

I think there are few times when responsibility does come fairly close to zero, or in practicality has to be treated that way. In a situation as the one described, taking the right share of responsibility may be difficult to determine (unless you go to court and let the judge decide). If the driver's share of the responsibility is less 50%, offering to pay "fair share," is probably more cruel than offering nothing (I'm sorry I killed your dog, and since I consider myself 27% responsible, I'll pay 27% of the cost of vet bills or 27% of the cost of a new dog).

Small dogs getting hit by cars, is a particular hot button topic for me, because when I volunteered in humane societies I heard it all the time. How hard is it to prevent a small dog from running free? Yes, dogs sometimes do get loose (but that too would never be 0% the owner's responsibility, and knowing how much risk a small dog is if it DOES get out, makes that even more the owner's responsibility to keep the dog safe). Most small dogs brought to the humane society are brought in as "strays." That means most of them were let loose (often because the idiot owner is afraid that the humane society will put the dog to sleep - what's worse being given a drug that makes you sleepy and you don't wake up - or dying under the wheels of a truck, eaten by a fox or coyote, or dying slowly of illness, injury, exposure or starvation).

Dogs aren't meant for the wild. The wild has been bred out of them, and especially small dogs are at outrageously high risk, that I believe the owner is nearly by definition 51% responsible. In nearly all communities, from the farm to the big city, small dogs are sitting ducks outside of the house. Even in big cities they are at risk of being attacked and/or injured or even eaten by larger animals and birds of prey (even cities of a decent size can have owls and other birds of prey and even coyotes and the occasional fox). They are suceptible to being intentionally or accidentally poisoned, can be exposed to diseases, and of course hit by cars.

It isn't that I think that the driver is never even partially responsible, but that unless the driver intentionally aims for the small dog, I think the owner has the larger share of the blame and shouldn't be rewarded or spared any of the the consequences of their irresponsibility in allowing the dog out in the first place. If the driver feels "partially to blame," they should either take it to court and let the courts decide how much or (a more practical solution) donate to an animal shelter or volunteer to help educate people of the dangers of allowing any dog to wander free, or some other appropriate charity work of their choosing.

nana64
03-25-2009, 08:35 PM
flatiron-I stopped at the traffic light and ways off I started to speed up and the dog appeared in front of me. Sorry I didn't clarify that.

I know I should have stopped and see if I could help. I was about to get off the car and help the dog but my mother said I'll get in trouble with the owners and such. My family comes from a country where animals are treated like trash but I was raised here where dogs are like children. But when you have someone frantically telling you, run theres nothing you can do when your frantic yourself I didn't know how to react. Far as I know the dog wasnt there when my aunt passed through an hour later and a day afterwards we saw a very similiar dog roaming the streets alone. So I do not know what happened to it. I went to my school counseler and she believes that I didn't kill it but maybe stun him. I hope I didn't kill him.

kaplods- I know I am partially responsible for what has happened since I didn't react fast enough and didn't get out to help. I had one of my dogs a yorkie get hit by a car when he was 5 months old. And I didn't want any compensation, because we knew there was a hole in the fence and we didn't fix it and the dogs got loose. We paid the 3000 plus dollars for medical fees a lot of money but we saved him. In my town I have seen many lost dogs and with dogs like children they need to be kept a constant eye on. I am sorry about the child being hit I would have been devastated if I hit a child or a person. But going at 55mph you can't expect something like that happening to you.

futuresuferchick- Though I think it is too late to report the incident. I will see if I can somehow volunteer in a shelter for animals somewhere. Maybe that will ease my guilt.

Thank you all so much for replying.

kiramira
03-25-2009, 09:12 PM
nana -- you did the best that you could under the circumstances, and I know that you didn't do this on purpose. I was with a fellow who accidentally ran over a cat and it is really stressful and really really hard especially if you are a pet owner. You need to know that driving training teaches you NOT to swerve or dodge a rogue animal because you can actually crash your car and cause more damage to human lives. So, you did the best that you could. But I bet that doesn't make you feel any better.
What has happened has happened. Others will say that you could have done this, that, or the other, but "Could'a Should'a Would'a" -- meaning hindsight is 20/20. You can't go back and undo this. What is done is done. If you feel really, really bad about this, then you can make amends to animals in general by volunteering with a humane society or with another organization of your choice. But I think that sometimes, stuff happens. And don't worry about convincing others about the validity of your actions. It is easy to "back seat criticize". You have no apologies to make for your actions. Thank GOD you didn't swerve and lose control of your car and hit a mother and child, or take out a pedestrian, or go head-on into another car. What an earful you'd get by those who question you now!
And I recall seeing a Judge Judy episode where a dog got loose, a girl driving a car accidentally hit it and sustained alot of damage to her car. She was sued by the dog owners for running over the dog, and she countersued for damage to her car and she won. The dog owner was at fault for not controlling his pet and was deemed negligent, not the driver. And Judge Judy is a dog lover and happily tears into those who are cruel to animals.
Relax. And please take care of yourself. And get back to your studies!!!!
:hug:
Kira

kaplods
03-25-2009, 10:21 PM
Accidents sometimes are exactly that, accidents and you've got to be able to forgive yourself. Your reaction time is your reaction time, and the only possible "mistake" you made was in not trusting your first instincts at stopping, but on the other hand, it's possible, even probably that if you had stopped, you'd not have been able to help. I think you're far less responsible than the blame you're assigning yourself.

I know in our defensive driving course, we were taught NOT to get out of the car if we injured an animal, especially if we were "on the clock" in a company vehicle, because of the risk of injury to ourselves. We were taught to call animal control, because injured animals aren't always able to distinguish someone trying to help from someone trying to hurt, and they can bite and injure those trying to help. If you don't have proper training, you probably shouldn't be trying to give first aid to an injured animal. You didn't know what to do, so you did nothing - frankly that's a very common, very human response. It's why we were taught in (human) first aid never to call out randomly "someone call 911," while we were administering CPR or other first aid. Instead, were were to look directly at two people, point to them and say, "you and you, call 911," because if you didn't it was likely that everyone would stand around gawking assuming that "someone" had left to call 911.

Armchair quarterbacking, backseat driving, whatever you want to call it - no one who wasn't there has any right to judge what you did or didn't, could or couldn't do. If you regret any part of your actions, you will not make the same mistake in the future, and that probably has to be enough for you.

If you can find an animal first aid class in your area (the humane society would be a good place to ask) you might consider taking it. Not so much as "penance" for the accident, but so you'd feel prepared should you need or want to stop to give aid in the future if that's something you'd like to be able to do.

squeak351
03-26-2009, 01:01 PM
Hey Nana, Just wanted to say that I am sure most of us have hit something (dog, cat, squirrel, opposum, skunk, deer, whatever) in the road. I don't know anyone who it doesn't bother. I don't think there was much you could do, yes, you could have stopped to check the dog. But as far as avoiding, no. A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were going home, it's a narrow windy country road. We saw a dog running along the road, right at the white line. He crossed over to the other side of the road while he went passed to the dog. Right when we got near it the dog darted across the road. I heard it hit and I heard the dog whine, then nothing. I made hime stop, turn around and go back. We couldn't find the dog anywhere. There was a step embankment beside the road and I felt the dog may have been thrown over it. What could we do? Nothing.. I didn't know who owned the dog and it was very late. I wanted to knock on doors until I found an owner my husband wouldn't let me so we went home. I cried for days and kept driving at the spot over and over looking for the dog. Then a few days ago DH said he saw the dog again, running along the road about the same spot.
I think we as humans should keep our dogs up. But unfornunately they get out, yes, dogs are dumped but I don't think that hitting a dog in the road is always the fault of the driver. Don't let it get you too down. Next time (hopefully there won't be one) you will know that you should stop and see if there is anything you can do.

flatiron
03-28-2009, 02:25 PM
I would not offer to pay vet bills or for a new pet. The fault here is not with the motorist, but with the owner who allowed the dog to run. .

You are assuming the owner let the pet run free. What if the pet escaped from a secure yard? I have known pets that could have made Houdini look like an amatuer.

And what if the pet belonged to a couple of kids? Or someone who could not afford to pay a big bill so they put the pet to sleep?

If you hit a pedestrian it is automatically your fault.

There are lots of variables.

If I killed someone's beloved pet I would do all that I could to try and make up for it but unfortunately nothing can bring the pet back if it is gone.

To some people the pet is a family member.

I think my Mom MUCH prefered our little chihuahua TeeTee to me when I was teenager! :D

kiramira
03-28-2009, 02:51 PM
Wrong! If you hit a pedestrian, it is NOT automaticallly your fault. Just last week, we had a driver doing under the speed limit going down a city street. An 82-year old woman stepped out from between two trucks into the path of traffic and got hit. She died. The investigation showed that the driver was NOT at fault.
Sometimes things just happen. And if you don't control your pet and something happens, it isn't the driver's fault.
Think of it this way: if your dog gets out and attacks a small child, it is YOUR. FAULT. Period. You were negligent in not controlling your pet. If it escapes, it is YOUR FAULT as you failed to control your pet. This isn't just my opinion, it is a legal fact that all pet owners need to understand and accept.
Two years ago, a neighbor of ours left their house, and their dog got out. It jumped our fence into our back yard and killed my elderly, declawed cat in my back yard. While the owners were out shopping. Hoping that their dog would come back some time. Whose fault is that? Mine? Or the negligent owner whose dog escaped? And if said dog darted out in traffic and got hit, it is still my neighbor's fault for not controlling their pet.
If your dog is like a member of the family, like, say a child, and it got out, it should be tracked down and brought in JUST like you would do if your child got out. If your toddler got out of the house, you wouldn't say "oh well" and go shopping, hoping he or she would come back. So stop with the child analogies!!!
HONESTLY...
Kira

kaplods
03-28-2009, 02:52 PM
You are assuming the owner let the pet run free. What if the pet escaped from a secure yard? I have known pets that could have made Houdini look like an amatuer.

And what if the pet belonged to a couple of kids? Or someone who could not afford to pay a big bill so they put the pet to sleep?

If you hit a pedestrian it is automatically your fault.

:D

I wrote this while kiramira was responding, so I repeat some of her well-made points.

No, I'm not assuming anything. It is the owner's responsibility (a legal responsibility in most cities) to make sure their dogs, and especially small dogs do not run free. Even if the dog digs through a fence or accidentally gets out of the house, it is the owner's responsibility what happens to the dog or what damage the dog does while free (say it bites someone). If an eagle eats an escaped yorkie it is the owner's responsibility - and if the yorkie gets hit by a car, it is also the owner's responsibility. If the yorkie escapes into an enclosed yard of a collie and the collie kills the yorkie it is not the responsibility of the collie owner - it's the responsibility of the yorkie owner. Yes animals can be escape artists, but it's the owner's responsibility to be one step ahead of the animal. Yes, terrible accidents happen, but that doesn't make it anyone else's responsibility.

And NO it is not automatically your fault if you hit a pedestrian - as in the cases I mentioned - it was determined that the drivers (the woman in the car who hit the toddler, and the otr trucker who hit the man who walked out in front of him at the last minute) were not responsible - neither were charged. If there had been even a bit of doubt that they were even partially responsible, they would have been charged and a jury or judge would determine their level of responsibility.

Whether an animal or a person darts in front of a car - the driver would not be held legally responsible if it was clear that the driver could not have anticipated and prevented the accident. There are many cases where this is has been proven true.

As for if the dog belonged to a family who could not pay to care for the dog - that's very sad, but if you can't afford a dog, you should seriously consider whether you should have one. What would happen if the dog got ill, they wouldn't be able to care for it, either? At the very least, if you can't afford vet bills, you'd better take much stronger precautions to prevent accident or illness to the pet, especially if you have a houdini. Yep, that's pretty harsh, and that doesn't mean I am not sympathetic. It can be a very sad situation, but that doesn't make it the driver's fault. If someone (anyone) wants to provide charity to that family so they can keep and care for their animal, that's wonderful (my husband and I have donated money to the humane society specifically for special need adoptions, ourselves) - but that's a far cry from saying that the driver is specifically and automatically responsible.

What happens if a dog runs into traffic, is hit by a car and then darts into the path of another vehicle and gets hit by several cars (this actually is not a rare event when an animal gets into the highway, the dazed and injured animal can get hit by several different vehicles). Is the first driver responsible for the dog's injuries? Or would the last driver have more responsibility because he/she had more opportunity to see the dog and avoid the accident? Or are all drivers equally responsible?

99% of the time, when an animal is hit by a car, it is not because of the negligence of the driver, but by the negligence of the owner. People aquire dogs without learning about the breed or dogs in general. "What's there to know? You just take the cute little thing home." It isn't that difficult to escape proof a house/yard and the dog itself, through training. Most people don't take the time to learn how to do it, but there are some awesome books out there, with very detailed information, and the efforts you need to take are different for a terrier (better have that fence several feet into the ground) than a border collie (which I've seen climb chainlink fences).

You're absolutely right, there are a lot of variables, and I was only responding to those described.

kaplods
03-28-2009, 03:18 PM
I just wanted to say that my perspective would be very different, if it was very rare for animal owners to be negligent. If it was almost unheard of for a dog to be allowed to escape or roam, and if the number of irresponsible owners weren't so high.

Since working with local humane societies, it just breaks my heart to see how irresponsible people can be. Just in the last two months, at least six dogs were returned to our local (relatively small) humane society. These were puppies and young dogs that were adopted around Christmas time. The "reasons" given for returning the dogs were varied, and I didn't even count the dogs returned because of plausible reasons such as "allergies" (a very common reason given, so common that I wonder how many of the allergies were invented). Instead, some where honest "didn't realize how much work a dog was," and "children lost interest in the dog," and others were so stupid, they infuriated me. A popular one is "landlord won't let me keep," because the person either snuck a dog into a no-pets apartment, or chose a dog that they knew (or should have) would grow past the weight limit of their landlord's pet policy. If your landlord only permits pets under 25 lbs, you do NOT bring home a rottie puppie!

One family returned a border collie, because it was "herding the children," that's what border collies do - they herd (Besides, usually the "herding" of a shepherd keeps children safe - we had a sheltie mix as kids and she wouldn't let us kids get anywhere near the road).

Because of what I've seen, I do hold pet owner's to a much higher standard than the average. If you're going to compare pets to children, it is the parents responsiblity prevent a toddler (even the smartest dog is the mental equivalent of a very small child) from wandering. Some children are Houdinis as well. I worked in a children's home for developmentally disabled children. One of the children was a little girl who had inoperable benign brain tumors (they weren't cancerous, but the inhibited mental development, she was 8, but at the developmental age of a 3 to 4 year old). We had to install special locks and alarm systems, even more than normally needed in such facilities, because she was a regular Houdini. At least once a month, we'd get a call from the elderly neighbors to come get her, because she was in their fridge looking for bologna (how she not only got out of the house, but into the neighbor's house, none of us could figure out. Sometimes the neighbors would swear that they had locked the door). If anything would have happened to her while she was out, it would have been our responsibility. So, so luckily, she never went anywhere but the next door neighbors. She usually was able to get out when we were understaffed, or when we were distracted dealing with another child's tantrum or trying to break up a fight, or during the night shift. There were only two staff members on at night, and if one person was in the basement changing a load of laundry while the other person was doing bedchecks, she'd somehow find a way out of the house without anyone seeing her. I still can't imagine how she was able to get out so often. Once she managed to get out her window (and the staff never figured out how she was able to get that kind of window open, let alone squeeze out the space). She once climbed over an 8 foot fence (at least we think so, because she managed it while everyone was outside - all 8 children and both staff. Since no one saw it, for all we knew, she could have flew). There was always talk of assigning one staff member just to her - and keeping their eyes on her during the whole shift, but there was never enough funding for the extra staff member.

Amber1011
03-28-2009, 03:58 PM
I know I should have stopped and see if I could help. I was about to get off the car and help the dog but my mother said I'll get in trouble with the owners and such. My family comes from a country where animals are treated like trash but I was raised here where dogs are like children. But when you have someone frantically telling you, run theres nothing you can do when your frantic yourself I didn't know how to react. Far as I know the dog wasnt there when my aunt passed through an hour later and a day afterwards we saw a very similiar dog roaming the streets alone. So I do not know what happened to it. I went to my school counseler and she believes that I didn't kill it but maybe stun him. I hope I didn't kill him.


I'm sorry, but I think that fact that you drove off was 100% unacceptable and sickening. I don't care if someone came from another country and doesn't care about animals. Driving off was plain wrong, and you should feel terrible about it. You may not have instantly killed the animal, but you could have injured it very badly where it can walk around suffering for days and then die. Hope after the fact does nothing for the animal. You should have done the responsible thing in the first place. If you hit a person and your mother said "run there's nothing you can do, plus you'll have trouble with _____." would you drive off contrary to your instincts? No. That dog deserved at least for you to pull over an check on the situation.

flatiron
03-30-2009, 08:09 AM
Armchair quarterbacking, backseat driving, whatever you want to call it - no one who wasn't there has any right to judge what you did or didn't, could or couldn't do.

sorry kaplods I just don't agree. If you post something on a public forum you can expect opinions thats what they are for. Also I don't think I judged her, I said what I would do and if something is wrong you have a duty to speak up and hit and run is wrong in my world.

If you hit someone (pet or person) or even something you should stop and inform and try and give aid or assistance if possible.

Her mother's reasoning for driving on was ...
1. there's nothing you can do.
2. you will get into trouble.

If that is the motivation then there is never a good reason to stop if you hit something in your car. This is called hit and run.

There might be nothing you can do but you can at least try.

That animal may have been knocked into the bushes and lay there all night in pain. If someone had gotten out and check it might have been saved.

Heck it I hit someone's mailbox I would stop and let them know. Just because it was an accident and you didn't mean to doesn't make it ok to go on with your life and forget about it.

And as far as not touching an animal when it was hurt well yes I probably would not touch a wounded pitbull LOL!

Once I started my car one cold morning when I was visiting my sister and I heard a screech under my car when I started the car. A neighbor's cat had crawled inside in an effort to get warm or something. It got caught up in my fan blade and chopped the cat up pretty good. It's head was split wide open on top of it's head. I wouldn't have bet a nickle this cat would have lived.

My sister came out with a box and we put the cat in it and we called ahead to a vet and took it in and guess what the vet saved it and the cat lived many years after that.

Now some might argue it was not my fault a cat crawled into the engine compartment but the cat was a beloved pet for 3 young kids next door and I paid for that vet bill because I felt it was the right thing to do.

But my point was that vets are highly trained and can work miracles with a wounded animal.

But first you have to stop and get the animal to them first...

ah well I guess it is a moot point anyways like you said... it is over with and done.

Nana I sincerely hope if you ever hit another animal (God Forbid!) that you will stop and see if you can give aid.

I guess yall can tell I am a BIG animal lover! LOL!

The PETA headquarters is just blocks from my house and I have several friends who either work there or volunteer maybe they are rubbing off on me! Personally I think they take it a "little" to far but most are good people there. :D

And Nana we know you are a good person otherwise you wouldn't have even posted your experience you would have just forgotten about it!

flatiron
03-30-2009, 08:22 AM
I My family comes from a country where animals are treated like trash .


My Dad lives way out in the woods in North Carolina and they think like this out there too. I think it is because many of them (including my Dad) grew up on a farm where even as kids they would kill chickens, pigs and cows for food like it was nothing and they get desensitized to animal pain.

For a long time my Dad would shoot ANY cat (most were wild cats but probably not all) that wandered on to his property with a .22 rifle.

We got into some pretty heated arguements over this until I got him a BB rifle and now he plinks them and they run away.

He (and almost all of his neighbors too) would kill any other bird except for Martins too if they came anywhere near his Martin houses. I think that is SO wrong!

I talked him out of that habit also! :D

kaplods
03-30-2009, 02:28 PM
sorry kaplods I just don't agree. If you post something on a public forum you can expect opinions thats what they are for. Also I don't think I judged her, I said what I would do and if something is wrong you have a duty to speak up and hit and run is wrong in my world.


You're right. We all do have a right to express our opinions (and that by definition, is judging).

I agree that not stopping to see what could be done and/or failing to report the accident was morally wrong (and in many areas legally wrong, as well).

My main point was that it does not absolve the owners of the greater responsibiliy of keeping their animal safe. I strongly feel (and so it is a judgement) that anyone hitting a domestic animal (unless it was an intentional act), is no more than 50% to blame. At least half belongs to the owner for allowing the dog (either by action, or inaction) to run.

Even if the animal escaped rather than was let out, I can think of very few situations in which the owner should not have been able to foresee and prevent the escape.

I think offering to pay for more than half of the entire cost of medical expenses or (especially) for a new dog rewards carelessness, and only encourages people to view pets as replaceable commodities, rather than friends and companions. I think the judgement for the owner should be harsher than the driver in most cases. Now if the driver hit the dog because he or she aimed for the dog wanting to kill it, or hit the dog because they were talking on their cellphone or were otherwise distracted that changes the situation somewhat (but not all that much, as if the owner prevents the animal from wandering in the first place, there's NO chance for a hostile or irresponsible driver to injure the dog).

My main objection was to the view that it is automatically 100% or even automatically 50% the drivers responsibility for the animal's injuries. I would argue that it is nearly always at least 50% the owners responsibility, and the smaller or otherwise more vulnerable the dog, the MORE the responsibility increases. Small dogs, blind or deaf dogs... because of their extra vulnerability, the owner is that much more obligated to take extra precautions to protect the dog (not that letting a huge dog is any less irresponsible - that has its own sense of additional responsibilities).

The obligation towards the safety of pets starts with, and is the main responsibility of the pet owner.

flatiron
03-30-2009, 08:17 PM
You're right. We all do have a right to express our opinions (and that by definition, is judging).

Reminds me of an old joke...

Q: What's the difference between judging someone or having an opinion?

A: Depends on who is doing the talking! :D


kaplods you must have been awesome in your high school debate team! LOL!
You make some great points!

Let's just hope that the little doggie got away unscathed and it scared him (or her) so bad it will never venture out by the road again! :)

VermontMom
03-30-2009, 08:46 PM
nana, I am so sorry that this happened. I know you feel terrible about it. I also think if you could report it, and try to find the owners, that would help ...both the owners and you. It is, of course, obviously bothering you hugely and you want to make amends.

Years ago our beautiful little shepherd got loose (yes, my fault) and ran away, and she ran directly into the road, directly into the path of a car. The people stopped, knocked on doors, found me, apologized, and carried our Jessie's body from the road to my door. The woman was crying, I was crying, I felt so bad for the lady that she went through that horror because of me not catching my dog as she slipped out, but she was such an honorable person to endure that pain to carry Jessie to us. I remember sobbing so hard, (being five months pregnant didn't help my emotions!) but gasping out 'thank you so much' to her.

witchyonadiet
03-30-2009, 09:11 PM
OMG - I can't believe I just read this. Of course it was an accident and I don't think anyone would dispute that. Leaving the scene was not an accident and is horrible, cruel and makes me sick. How could you leave without checking on the animals welfare ? The animal may have lain there for hours suffering. The animal may have died. Whether or not it is someones pet is totally irrelevant. And if it was someones pet even MORE reason for the outcome to be known. Can you imagine not knowing what happened ??? It was a living , breathing creature. Accidents DO happen but they need to be handled - NOT driven away from. You should feel badly and be ashamed of yourself. I can't even believe people are bringing up whether the owner of the animal was negligent. Huh ???? Negligence has nothing to do with reporting an accident and CHECKING TO SEE IF WHAT YOU HIT IS OK OR NEEDS ASSISTANCE.

Call the police and report it and then ask whatever higher power you believe in for guidance and forgiveness......unbelievable.

kaplods
03-30-2009, 11:15 PM
My point regarding the negligence of the owner was not in justifying the hit and run, or the failure to report it, but only in response to the suggestion that she should pay for the entire vet bills or the cost of a new pet. I have a HUGE problem with that - because the animal could not have been hit if the owners had not been negligent.

It doesn't mean I'm saying that it's ok to run over animals just for fun because hey, it's the owner's fault for letting the animal out of the house.

I'm also not trying to "punish" the owner for being negligent - I think for most folks the death or injury of the animal is far worse punishment than any that could be imposed. But I strongly believe that offering full restitution implies not only to the owner, but as an example to the community, that the owner has no responsibility for keeping their animals safe. Just let them run, and if someone kills your pet, they'll just buy you a new one.

How often do you see small dogs running free? It's rare, because most folks know they must keep them indoors to keep them safe. Sadly, the statistics are that most dogs at loose are loose because the owner either let them out to roam or worse, dumped the dog intentionally (this is unfortunately, especially true of the smaller breeds - if they're wandering, it's because they've been dumped) or because the owner was aware that the dog had "escape" issues, but hadn't "gotten around to" fixing the fence, or otherwise addressing the escape issue. And I suspect that anyone who would dump a small dog, would happily accept payment for their "pain and suffering," even though their intention was to be rid of the dog, in the first place.

I'm normally a fairly trusting and optimistic person (not so much because of my experience with people, but more because I choose to be) , but working with the humane society, sadly I can't choose to pretend where roaming pets are concerned. I've learned how rare it is for small "strays" to be wanted pets. With big dogs, there's at least a fair chance of the owner reclaiming the dog,(and they're warned of the dangers of letting the dog run), but with the small dogs - even if the owner is tracked down, the odds are that they won't reclaim the dog. Some will say that the dog "escaped," but then not be willing to pay the relatively small fee to reclaim the dog. It is often very apparent that the person doesn't want to admit to dumping a dog intentionally, so they'll say they can't afford the reclamation fee (and if they're told there's a fund to for financial aid to needy families, they just have to fill out the application and provide proof of income and expenses.... huh, what do you know the person has a new excuse for not being able to do so, or they promise to come in and just never do).

In my experience with humane societies in both Wisconsin and Illinois, at least 80% of "strays," are deliberately allowed to run (either because they want the dog to have its "freedom" or because they're deliberately trying to rid themselves of the animal). For small dogs, unfortunately, the odds are even higher that the dog was an intentional dump, because most people are smart enough to realize that allowing a small dog to run is a very stupid idea. I think the risk of rewarding someone for deliberately dumping their animal is just too big a risk, especially since a responsible owner, would almost assuredly feel far too guilty to accept the money, knowing the driver could not have prevented the accident.

flatiron
03-31-2009, 12:27 AM
Wrong! If you hit a pedestrian, it is NOT automaticallly your fault.

That's funny the law books here in Virginia say that ALL pedestrians have the right of way. So does California. Don't have time to check all the other states.

Also the criminal court may have exonerated the driver but the civil court might think otherwise.

Also this is straight out of WikiAnswers.com
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_do_pedestrians_have_the_right-of-way_over_motor_vehicles

Q: When do pedestrians have the right-of-way over motor vehicles?

A: always

mariamherrera
03-31-2009, 12:28 AM
witchy-I'm sure this poster feels bad enough with out trying to give her a guilt trip!

She obviously feels guilty about what happened... she was under pressure her mother was making her feel guilty .. think about it... she already feels an extreme amount of guilt to be posting about it.. to me that shows remorse and it shows she has a heart! leave her a lone! I' m positive you haven't always handled every situation you've cause ideally either- So I would just get off your high horse!

and as far as your concerned nana- I know you feel bad. I'm sorry you caved under the pressure. no one knows exactly what they'd do in a situation until it happens to them so don't let other judging you make you feel bad..

I like the idea of maybe volunteering at the humane society for a day or a week, maybe foster a cat or dog who would face euthanization/ death unless it can find a temporary home until a permanent one can be found, maybe donate to the humane society or ASPCA, or other worthy animal charity ... I think these may be ways to make you feel better about yourself :) good luck with forgiving yourself! you do deserve to be forgiven!

kaplods
03-31-2009, 09:24 AM
There's a big difference between "right of way" and saying the driver is responsible for all collisions with a pedestrian, regardless of whether there was any possible way to foresee or expect the pedestrian until it's too late. The incidents I described in which a the toddler on the highway at night and the suicidal man who was standing (not walking) by the side of a busy road, and looking at the semi approaching, to all appearances waiting for the semi to pass and then jumping in front of the semi at the very last second - both of those incidents were in "right of way" jurisdictions, but right of way does not mean "no matter what the pedestrian does, and even if there was no way for a responsible driver to have avoided the accident."

Besides which, animals do not have the right of way in any jurisdiction in which I'm aware (in some jurisdictions, I believe there are some laws on the books regarding some animals having right of way, but this is generally not family pets, but rather cattle or endangered species).

witchyonadiet
03-31-2009, 10:01 PM
In Massachusetts pedestrians always have the right of way - but that is completely off topic. I HAVE hit a dog and I stopped and checked on it. It ran away and I called the police and knocked door to door looking for the owner. I was two hours late for work and VERY upset but I DID the right thing and am not on "my high horse". WRONG IS WRONG and there is no excuse. She put the question on a public forum and should be prepared for responses.

Suzanne 3FC
04-01-2009, 08:41 AM
We can't predict how we'll react under tragic circumstances, especially when our choices are influenced by others. I hope you find the personal strength needed to deal with your grief and move forward. :hug:

I hope no one minds, but I'm going to go ahead and close this thread.