- Category: Local News
- Created on Sunday, 28 October 2012 19:23
Rancho Penasquitos, California - It was a horrific collision: in an instant, two lives lost. As investigators carried out their grim work at the crash scene that night, a County Animal Control officer wound up playing an unusual role in bringing resolution to the case.
A motorcyclist was riding through Rancho Penasquitos the evening of Oct. 15 when he struck a man walking his dog through an intersection. When emergency personnel arrived, there was nothing they could do to save either man.
The investigators did not find any identification on the pedestrian. Meanwhile, police contacted Animal Services to take care of the man’s dog, which had not been hurt in the accident.
Animal Control officer Sandra Simmons said when she arrived around midnight, police told her they found the dog sitting with his fatally wounded owner.
“To know he had that love and that drive to do that, I wanted to do anything I could, so that his family could be notified,” Simmons said. “That’s such a powerful thing to witness.”
The dog’s tag had his name: Chubs. Police hoped the tag might lead to the owner’s name as well. Simmons said it could be even more helpful if the Staffordshire terrier had a microchip. The tiny devices are implanted in pets normally to help locate owners if the animals are lost.
She scanned Chubs and there it was – a microchip. Within a few minutes, Simmons had the owner’s name, address and multiple phone numbers. She handed those off to the detective, who thanked her for the contact information and definitive answer on the man’s identity. Simmons emphasized that if Chubs had run off, rather than remain by his owner, it would have made that identification process more complicated.
“It was such an unfortunate incident all around, but to get some closure for the family is good,” Simmons said.
Even though the dog appeared uninjured, Simmons wanted to make sure by having him checked out. She took him to an urgent care veterinary clinic, where they kept him under observation overnight.
“It’s a traumatic event for the dog,” Simmons explained. The family picked Chubs up from the clinic and told police they appreciated how the dog had been treated.
“To get Chubs back with his family to help them grieve was an important thing,” Simmons said.
Simmons said it was the first time she had ever used a dog’s microchip to help identify a deceased owner, and she could not recall any instances of her colleagues doing so either.
“It was a really good team effort,” she said.