Dog hit by car, driver flees; know what to do if you hit a dog with your car

ST. GEORGE — The boy was terrified as he pulled his dog Butter from the sidewalk as the car that struck it drove away. It wasn’t just a dog that was hit and nearly killed that day in St. George, Butter was part of the family, and closest companion to the 13-year-old boy trying to save his broken friend.

Hitting an animal on the roadway is a distressing experience for most any driver but not knowing what to do can prevent a motorist from doing the right thing – by doing nothing.

L-R: Jared Rosado, Jaime Watters, Butter, and George Rosado, St. George, Utah, July 9, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Rosado, St. George News
L-R: Jared Rosado, Jaime Watters, Butter, and George Rosado, St. George, Utah, July 9, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Rosado, St. George News

Just before 1 p.m. on June 21 Butter was hit by a car on 100 South near Dixie State University after the animal ran out of the yard and into the roadway, directly into the path of an oncoming car, the dog’s owner, Jared Rosado, said.

After hitting the animal the driver stopped for a moment and then continued driving down the street, Jared Rosado said. Jared Rosado’s 13-year-old son, George Rosado, helped the animal back into the house and attempted to provide first aid while he waited for his dad and fiancé Jaimie Watters to return from an appointment.

The couple got home less than one hour later and were shocked to see their pet wrapped in towels and bleeding. They quickly realized that the dog had sustained extensive injuries to his leg and immediately took the injured animal to the veterinarian for treatment.

The dog underwent emergency surgery to repair the leg injury caused in the incident. Butter is now home recuperating.

The family adopted the dog from an animal shelter several months prior to the accident and named her Butter. The inspiration behind adopting Butter was to provide a companion for their special needs son, the same 13-year-old who rescued her.

They knew they were responsible for the dog being loose, Watters said, and for any damages caused in the accident.

What wasn’t clear, however, is why the driver didn’t stop.

“We are the dog owners,” Watters said, “so we’re at fault.”

Butter is a house dog, but on the day of the accident George Rosado opened the front door and the dog ran out. Instead of calling her back, he chased after her, Watters said, and that only made the dog run faster, directly into the path of the oncoming car.

“The circumstances surrounding the accident wouldn’t have changed had the driver stopped to check on Butter instead of driving away.”

It was the fact that someone could run over an animal in the middle of the day and not even stop to make sure it’s okay, Jared Rosado said of what bothered him, or even to help carry the dog to safety.

“Where’s the humanity of not stopping,” Watters said, “when you hit someone’s dog?”

The decision to stop or not to stop after hitting an animal may not be as simple as some may think.

It is estimated that more than 260 million cars travel over 4 million miles of U.S. roadways annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In excess of a million dogs are hit by vehicles and killed each year, with many more injured, according to data collected through Pet’s Tech.

Hitting an animal while driving can be a terrible experience and is difficult for all involved – the driver, the pet, and its owner. Knowing what to do can potentially save the pet’s life and protect the driver as well.

It can be a frightening experience for any driver who hits an animal that darted in front of their vehicle. Some drivers are afraid of calling the police and reporting it for fear they will be cited or found responsible for damages and injuries.

In St. George, like many cities, the owner of the dog is responsible for the animal, and dogs are prohibited from running at large or not under the control of their owner. It is the pet owner that is responsible for any damage caused by the animal.

The animal control provisions of the St. George City Code, Title 5, Chapter 2, Section 7-J-2,requires drivers to stop if they hit and injure or kill a domestic animal with their vehicle. If the pet’s owner cannot be located, the driver is required to immediately call animal control. Failing to stop is prohibited.

“Sometimes when people hit an animal they panic, and leave the scene,” St. George Animal Shelter supervisor April McManus said, “but don’t leave, stick around because you are not in trouble.”

What to do if you hit a domestic animal while driving:

  • Pull over to the side of the road safely. Once you realize you have hit a dog or cat, stop immediately.
  • Notify the animal shelter or the police. Motorists are required to call the animal shelter in the area where the accident occurs, and if after normal business hours then contact the police at the nonemergency number (locally: 435-627-4300). Either an animal control or police officer will respond.
  • If possible, move the animal to safety. If necessary, move the animal out of the flow of traffic to keep it from getting hit again or causing an accident.
  • Notify the owner if possible by getting information from the pet’s tag. If you are in a residential neighborhood and the pet doesn’t have a tag, you can ask around at houses in the area to see if anyone knows who the animal belongs to.
  • Wait for help to arrive. Stay with the animal until the police, animal control or pet owner arrives.
  • File a report. Once the pet has been helped, ask the police about filing a report so you can document any damage to your vehicle. In Utah, pet owners are responsible for keeping their pets under control at all times. Those who fail to do so can be held liable for any damage that occurs as a result of their pet roaming free.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.






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  • Bob July 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    sometimes it’s best to drive away, and drive like hell. These idiot, tattooed-up owners of these “pit bull” monsters often times cannot be reasoned with. If u run the sucker over (which ur probly doing he world a favor) floor it and get the heck outta there.

  • The Rest Of The Story July 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I’m glad the dog is recuperating. I’m unfortunately reminded of when I was a bible-thumper and some … from my church was bragging about how he made the decision to runover an Alaskan Malamute that found its way onto the road. He was so proud of himself for aiming just right to hit the animal, rather than try to slow down or miss it. (Yes, I realize that you can’t always miss an animal in the roadway. Any sane person would feel remorse at hitting a dog. This creep was proud of himself). I’m sure his phony, fake Jesus wants him for a sunbeam. Because Bible is True–we know because Bible says Bible is true. (Religion=Mental Illness)
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • .... July 9, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    If you hit a dog make sure you seek immediate assistance to save the dogs life. but if you hit somebody like dumbob or Real No Life. Pfffffffffft continue on nobody cares.

    • Real Life July 10, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      Neither your mental illness, nor your pill addiction will get you off the hook for running us over. You are getting careless Dumpster.

      • .... July 11, 2016 at 5:21 pm

        Neither your mental illness or your pill addiction will get you off of a Jay walking ticket. running you over will be justice served. you are getting careless Real No Life lol ha ha ha ha ha

  • Common Sense July 10, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I am sorry that the driver left the scene. This family adopted this dog how many months ago? Ever heard of a fence? 100% completely avoidable. This family should not have a pet. Unacceptable!

  • ladybugavenger July 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Is it safe to leave a special needs 13 year old boy alone for hours?

    • .... July 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Yeah why not ? LOL ! that would explain Bob’s problem

  • vesseyfamily2 July 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    How can you ask around the neighborhood for the animal’s owners and yet stay with the animal? That is contradictory and makes no sense. So which is it? Are you supposed to drag the injured animal around with you? Or just wait until after it’s been taken away?

  • ladybugavenger July 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

    If it’s not your fault if you hit an animal then why stop and face the hate and sadness from the owner lol that’s the motive to drive away

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