Durham authorities defend slow response to injured dog
Posted October 21, 2015
Durham, N.C. — Durham County authorities responded Wednesday to criticism from a man who was hit by an SUV Monday night while waiting for help for his injured dog, saying the man shouldn't have been in the road.
Jonathan Parker said his pit bull, King, had followed another dog into Liberty Street near North Guthrie Avenue and was hit by a car that didn't stop.
Parker, 47, said he called the Durham County Sheriff's Office, which handles after-hours calls for Durham County Animal Services, three times and waited more than an hour for help. He said he was out on Liberty Street for so long – he didn't move the dog for fear of causing further injury – that two women stopped at various times to help him.
One of the women, Stephanie Wilson, was leaning over to check whether King had a heartbeat when she and Parker were hit by an SUV and dragged underneath the vehicle. Wilson, 29, suffered critical injuries, police said, while Parker was treated at a local hospital and released.
Sheriff's office spokesman Capt. Don Baker said Wednesday that the two Animal Services deputies on duty Monday night were on high-priority calls. Although he didn't provide details as to what they were doing, the agency considers people being chased or attacked by an animal, an animal in danger of rabies exposure or livestock blocking a road as higher priorities than an animal getting hit by a car.
Baker also said that it's the owner's responsibility to move a pet hit by a car from the road and seek veterinary care.
"The Animal Services Division Deputies are not trained nor equipped to provide emergency animal care. The Durham Sheriff’s Office is also not responsible for removing Domesticated or Non Domesticated animals who have deceased from the roadway," Baker wrote in an email to WRAL News.
Parker said King's carcass was left in a nearby yard for more than 15 hours before someone finally came to pick it up.
Margarita Hernandez De La Cruz, 54, of Durham, has been charged with driving while her license was revoked and not having insurance on her vehicle in connection with the accident that injured Parker and Wilson.