Bonehead of the Week: The Jerk Who Tied a Pit Bull to the Train Tracks

Really? REALLY? People do this? This isn't just a cartoon gag?


Saturday, May 12: Important update below

Pit bulls on train tracks seems to be a theme at the end of this week. Yesterday, Maria wrote about a 100% hero pittie who risked her life to frantically pull her unconscious owner from an oncoming freight train. The train ran over the dog, causing serious injuries, but it looks like she’ll pull through. Her owner was unharmed, saved by her loyal Lilly.

Maria — because she is a human, I guess — gets the hero stories. I get the creep stories for my column, Bonehead of the Week. So today I get to tell you about a bum who pulled a Snidely Whiplash on a pit bull in Antioch, Calif., just an hour from where I live. He or she (for ease of writing, I’ll say figure it’s a guy) tied his dog to the train tracks. Really! REALLY!

Fortunately the track he tied the dog to is seldom used. This is how the dog looked when rescuers came upon her.

It looks like she was cross-tied, so it may have been impossible for her to escape from the tracks if a train had come. It also looks like she’d been well cared for before, with a plump belly and even a flea collar. Could she have been a stray some numbskull decided to have fun with? Or did her owners find themselves unable to care for her and do this unthinkable deed? Sometimes I wish dogs could talk.

When rescuers got to her, she was panting hard and her skin was very hot to the touch, despite the relatively mild morning. She drank a ton of water. Fortunately she was found quickly, so no big damage was done, except maybe to her sweet doggy soul. If I could find the creep who did this to her, I’d put a little Malinois in my heart and bite whatever part of him I could reach.

This is a part of California that has been very hard hit by economic troubles. Dogs are being abandoned in big numbers, often by families who can’t take them along when their homes are foreclosed upon (I can’t imagine my people doing this to me; they swear they’d live in a car rather than ditch me).

Glenn Howell, Contra Costa animal services director, concurs. He told the San Jose Mercury News: “When the economy goes bad, it’s pretty typical to see an increase in the number of surrenders.”

I don’t care what anyone was going through — there’s no excuse for tying your dog to the train tracks. Bring her to a shelter if you can’t take care of her anymore. There are still shelters — including the one in Antioch — that accept pit bulls and don’t automatically euthanize.

Okay, I’ve vented. I feel better. It’s hard being a dog who can read, but at least I can also write, so I can get it out of my system.

Update 5/12 – Ah, my canine intuition was right. The owners were not the ones who did this to the dog, whose name turns out to be Star. She was just too plump for this kind of owner craziness, and that flea collar also showed someone cared. Here’s a note from the Antioch Animal Services FB page. Thanks, Misty, for pointing us toward this update!

“The Dog’s Owner has been located and Animal Control has interviewed him and determined that he was NOT personally involved in the incident of the dog being tied to the railroad track. The dog, who is named Star, was stolen from in front of his property along with another of his dogs, a Jack Russell Terrier, which was also later found tied to a stop sign in Antioch as well.

“Antioch Animal Services Supervisor, Monika Helgemo, worked with the Dog Owner to help him facilitate getting his dog, Star, fully vaccinated and spayed through donations. She will also be microchipped so that if she is ever stolen again, she can be identified and returned to her proper Owner straight away. Star and her Owner were ecstatic to see each other. The reunion at the Animal Shelter was a tearful and joyful moment for all.

“The unfortunate news is that despite canvassing the area and interviewing citizens, Animal Control is still no closer to finding the person responsible for tying Star to the railroad tracks. Make no mistake, the dog was not just caught up on the track by her leash and ropes. She was purposely tied under and over the track with clamps to secure her there. With the Dog Owner’s cooperation, the investigation will continue. Anyone with information about who tied Star to the railroad tracks is asked to call (925) 779-6989. Please continue to spread the word.”

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