Dog owner David Ying says he witnessed his dog being struck by a vehicle over the weekend along a busy stretch in Markham, Ont.
The Toronto man says they were in the area of 16 Avenue and Ninth Line at around 6 p.m. when his one and a half year-old Husky, Honu, took off.
“I got out of the car as usual. Usually I’ll open the back door and he’ll wait for me to put on the leash to come out,” he told Global News.
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This time was different. Honu left the vehicle and ran toward 16 Avenue. By the time Ying was able to catch up with him, he says the dog managed to cross to the other side of the road.
At first, he says he felt immense relief, but when Honu attempted to come back, Ying says his canine was hit by a white SUV.
His dog is currently receiving medical treatment at an emergency and specialty hospital in Toronto. Honu developed a pneumothorax, meaning his lungs started leaking air into his chest, making it harder to breathe.
Dawn Crandell of Toronto Animal Health Partners, which is providing him with the care he needs, says his pelvis was dislocated from the vertebrae of his spine and his patella was shattered. She adds that he also suffered a dislocated hip.
“If you have a blanket or something that you could sort of jiggle them onto, and then use the blanket as a bit of a stretcher with somebody to help you get them in the car, that would be a good idea,” she recommends.
However, Crandell cautions people to take care when approaching and attempting to handle an animal that’s been injured. She says the significant pain they’re experiencing can sometimes rouse pets to nip at those attempting to provide assistance.
“You just need to be cautious around how to move them, move them as little as possible,” she offers.
David Ying, who did not have pet insurance at the time of the incident, says his medical bills have totalled around $25,000. It’s a significant investment, he acknowledges, but he says he’s committing to helping Honu recover.
We asked York Regional Police about the duty a driver would have in this type of scenario.
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“It doesn’t sound like the driver was at fault in this situation,” acknowledged Sgt. Clint Whitney with York Regional Police. “It sounds like a tragic situation that really, what could the driver do? The collision happened as a result of the dog running in front of the car. So the driver doesn’t have to worry so much about being at fault.”
Whitney tells Global News if you’re involved in a collision, directly or indirectly, and it results in personal injury or damage to property that exceeds $2,000, it needs to be reported to police.
In the eyes of the law, Whitney says pets are considered property.
“Every situation needs to be assessed on its own merits,” he adds. “So we would encourage anyone who’s involved in this situation who may not know what should we do, to contact us.”
In the meantime, David Ying is hoping that by sharing his story, drivers will show more compassion when faced with a situation like his.
“My Honu, he was wrong to just run into the street,” he offered. “But you know, you could have offered some help.”
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