SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — An animal shelter worker was out walking one of their rescue dogs, when a driver slammed into both of them, then took off. It happened January 20 around 7:00 p.m., outside the Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary on West Aviation Road.
The volunteer suffered minor injuries. The truck ran over the dog, killing her.
"It’s just very difficult for everybody," said Vicki Caldwell.
Caldwell is the office manager of the sanctuary.
The dog's name was Dovey. She was a terrier-mix. She was barely a year old when she was found roaming the streets of Tijuana with her newborn puppies. Volunteers said she was emaciated, but still managed to take care of her puppies. One died of parvovirus.
A rescue worker brought her to the sanctuary in Fallbrook, hoping to give her a new life.
"She was making remarkable progress, very loving, very loving dog," said Caldwell.
She says the volunteer who was with Dovey the night she died is traumatized over what happened.
"She was more concerned about Dovey than herself, she was bleeding," said Caldwell. "She sustained bites from Dovey because Dovey was in such pain."
Caldwell suspects Dovey's spine was broken when she was hit. Staff rushed Dovey to a vet emergency hospital, but sadly it was too late.
"She passed on the way there," she said.
The sanctuary posted about what happened on its Facebook page. It's received donations from the community in Dovey's memory.
Her puppies, now 11 weeks old, all named after birds, are being cared for in a foster home and will be available for adoption soon.
Rescue dog leaves behind puppies
"They’re just adorable, they’re very sweet," she said. "They’re just very loving, they’re going to make great pets for someone."
Caldwell said they had hoped Dovey would find a home too.
"The worst part is Dovey just never had a chance to be in a loving family," said Caldwell. "We even had some appointments set up for her to be adopted."
According to Caldwell, the driver eventually returned to the scene and gave them his name and phone number. He told the volunteers it was dark, he just didn't see them.
The shelter filed a report with the California Highway Patrol. Wednesday, Officer Juan Escobar told News 8 the case is still under investigation, but confirms the driver returned to the scene and gave his name and contact information. He says it's unlikely the driver will face any charges and that what happened will probably be considered a terrible accident.
Caldwell said there is surveillance video of the incident.
If you would like to donate to the shelter to help pay for Dovey's puppies vaccines and their spay and neuter surgery, click here. The shelter is run entirely on donations from the community.
For more information on how to adopt the puppies when they're ready, click here.