A dog that was run over — twice — on a Jurupa Valley street while the owner looked on in horror was not intentionally hit, as a video circulated on social media suggests, a Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman said Monday.
The small short-haired brown dog was struck and killed after running out of the owner’s gated front yard Sunday night on the west side of the city, according to agency spokesman John Welsh.
A video that went viral on Facebook and other social media, prompting the nonprofit Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation to request a law enforcement investigation, showed a motorist backing up over the canine after hitting it moments earlier in his black Mercedes-Benz. But Welsh said that the depiction gives the wrong impression.
He aid Animal Control Officer Adam Haisten, with the assistance of sheriff’s deputies, investigated the matter shortly after it was reported and determined it was an accident.
“The owner told me that the driver was not driving very fast and did not realize that they had hit her dog,” Haisten said. “She told me she began yelling due to her dog having been hit and the driver, unknowingly, backed up to find out why she was yelling — and that’s when the dog was hit again.”
According to Haisten, the woman had stepped out of her front yard, leaving her gate open, to speak with a vendor, at which point the dog bolted into the street and was run over by the man.
The vendor reportedly began videotaping the ensuing drama and captured the moment when the motorist went into reverse and rolled over the pet, causing fatal injuries, Welsh said.
Everyone at the scene was questioned, he said. No citations were issued.
“We already know that this footage has been viewed by tens of thousands of people, but we want to ensure the public that we investigated the matter fully,” said Department of Animal Services Director Julie Bank. “Of course, we feel terrible about the poor dog, and our hearts go out to the pet’s owner. But it’s important to note that this was a very unfortunate accident.”
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