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Law would require reporting pets hit on road

A California lawmaker has proposed making it illegal to flee the scene of an accident in which a dog, cat or farm animal has been injured.

The measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Eng, would require that drivers attempt to provide aid to an injured farm animal or pet, and notify the owner or animal-control authorities. Violators would face fines and possible jail time.

Eng said he wrote the bill after hearing from a constituent who lost a family dog.

While it is a misdemeanor to flee an accident involving property loss — after crushing a mailbox, for example — there is no law against a hit-and-run involving a pet, Eng said.

“You can wantonly hit an animal and leave and face no consequences,” Eng said. “An inanimate object has more rights.”

“In theory, it makes a lot of sense to let people know they have an obligation when they hit an animal,” Jon Cicirelli of the California Animal Control Directors Association, told the Los Angeles Times. “But in practice it can be pretty problematic.” Injured animals might turn on people trying to help, he pointed out.

New York, Germany and Singapore have similar laws, according to the Times article.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time March 11, 2009 at 10:55 am

Thank God I’ve never hit an animal–pet or wild. But I’ve witnessed a couple of accidents where a dog was hit and the driver did stop immediately.

It’s difficult to know what to do in these situations. You have a distressed and injured dog, most probably in great pain and crying out. You have a driver who is at best rattled, at worst shaken and extremely upset. Animals, like human accident victims, should not be moved, and the situation is made worse by their instinct to bite or lash out when in extreme pain.

So, who do you call? What do you do? With humans you call 911 and request the police and an ambulance. I wonder what the reaction would be if you called to report an animal-involved accident.

And, by the way, if you decide to try to get the animal to a vet, you should be prepared to assume financial responsibility for its care–they aren’t compelled to treat animals without financial compensation, and most of them won’t.

This is a good law if it prevents needless suffering. But there needs to be some kind of procedure to follow, and it needs to be publicized so that people know what to do.

Comment from LuluAndLolly
Time March 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

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Comment from william rouse
Time October 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I hope this gets passed. A Round Table driver hit my dog in CA. My 10 year old son was on the corner as it happened he was speeding, made no effort to stop, swerve, or attempt to miss (Marshal), in any way. He didnt stop he said when we called the store it was due to the fact he didnt c the animal. How do u not c right n front of u? Unfortunatly the cops, or store will take no accountabillty. What if my son had ran in the road to save him? Its down right terrifying to driver is on the road today.