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Durham man hurt while tending to injured dog criticizes wait for help

Posted October 20, 2015

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— A Durham man who, along with a Good Samaritan, was hit by an SUV Monday night while waiting for help for his injured dog criticized Durham County Animal Services on Tuesday for its tardy response to his pleas for help.

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. While he tended to King, a woman blocked the street with her car and put on her flashers, he said.

Parker, 47, said he called 911 and was switched to the Durham County Sheriff's Office, which handles after-hours calls for Animal Services. A dispatcher told him someone was en route to help with King, he said, so the woman who had stopped left after waiting with him for a while.

He said he wound up waiting almost two hours in the street – he didn't want to move King because he feared hurting the dog more – and called Animal Services twice more during that time, getting angrier with each call that the agency wasn't responding.

"The third call, I said, 'Were is y'all at?' and I used profanity to her because I got mad," he said. "It hit me, 'Y'all ain't coming to get my dog.'"

By this time, Stephanie Wilson had stopped to help Parker. She was leaning over to check whether King had a heartbeat when she and Parker were hit by an SUV and dragged underneath the vehicle.

"I'm watching the street to make sure everybody is safe," Parker said. "I turned around to look down at her checking his heart. The next thing I know, I'm waking up under a truck."

Nearby residents pulled Parker from under the pickup and tried to lift the truck off of Wilson, he said.

Margarita Hernandez De La Cruz, 54, of Durham, was charged with driving while her license was revoked and not having insurance on her vehicle.

Wilson, 29, suffered critical injuries and was in a local hospital Tuesday, police said.

"Stephanie would have never showed up because the other lady stood there with her flashers on for about an hour," said Parker, who was treated at a hospital and released. "After she left, that's when Stephanie showed up because wasn't nobody out there with me.

"They at least could have sent police crews out there to direct traffic until they got there," he said of local authorities.

Capt. Don Baker said the Durham County Sheriff's Office was investigating the incident but had no response to Parker's complaint on Tuesday.

To make matters worse for Parker, King's carcass was left in a nearby yard until noon Tuesday before Animal Services finally picked it up.

"I went to the hospital and came back. My dog was still laying out there," he said. "That's my baby. I wouldn't wish that on nobody. It's like your child walks out there in the street and gets hit."

Delois Lowery said he didn't see the dog's carcass in his front yard until Tuesday morning.

"A dead animal laying on your property like that is not good," Lowery said. "I'm wondering if it was up in another neighborhood, a different neighborhood, would they move the dog."

20 Comments

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  • Amy Johnson Oct 21, 2015
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    Maybe Durham should just hire enough Animal Control officers to cover 24/7 shifts. Hope they don't increase county taxes to pay for it!

  • Chase Truman Oct 21, 2015
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    I have NEVER had a prompt response from Animal Control OR the Sheriff's Department in Durham concerning animal issues, and there have been a few times I had to call. Each time was important, and each time absolutely no one came. The latest was when I called on the weekend about two dogs running around on Hwy 85, dodging cars and almost getting hit. They had collars on and clearly belonged to someone but they wouldn't come to people. When I called and told the Sheriff's Department, I was told sternly to "Call back in an hour because that's when the Animal Control Officer will be here." Well, in an hour they could have very well been dead! I understand this man's frustration and I am very sorry for his loss. That sounds like a horrible span of events. Then for your dog to still be in a neighbor's yard days later? That's appalling. Come on Durham, I love this city, but our Animal Control and Sheriff's Department are laughable at best in this area. SMH

  • Chase Truman Oct 21, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Do you know for a fact that he had a car or driver's license?

  • Amy Johnson Oct 21, 2015
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    View quoted thread



    Ms. Teasley, if you review Durham Co Animal Control policies available at: http://dconc.gov/government/departments-f-z/sheriff-s-office/divisions-a-to-z/animal-services; you will note that calls concerning an injured animal are considered routine; and will be dealt with during normal operating hours, M-F 8-5. There is NOT an LEO designated to deal with injured animals after hours. Sincerely, one of you people.

  • Anne Havisham Oct 21, 2015
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    I have called Animal Services after-hours, too. It was made clear to me (after quite some time), that the animal emergencies that they respond to at night are those that may have an impact on human health and safety.

    I was not a part of the incident on Monday, but it may be that whoever was speaking with Mr. Parker did not explain what Animal Services officers were able to do. It may be that fear and grief made it difficult for him to hear what he was being told; I don't know.

    Some commenters here make it sound as though everyone should know what to do during those circumstances, but I don't think that's true. If someone can't transport an animal to an emergency veterinarian or doesn't know they exist, then calling Animal Services is a logical choice.

    My best thoughts are with Mr. Parker and Ms. Wilson.

  • Anne Havisham Oct 21, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Ms. Rios and Mr. Laurence, thank you both for reminding us how courtesy makes genuine communication more likely.

  • Natasha Teasley Oct 21, 2015
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    You people do realize that in Durham Animal Control is run by the Sheriff's Office. They took over so that there would be an officer designated to animal calls 24/7. That officer is not responding to break ins or other crimes. Coming to this injured animal call was the officer's job and the officer did not do his/her job.

  • Heather Heather Oct 21, 2015
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    If anyone would like to donate to the medical fund for the woman who was critically injured attempting to help him and his pup, here's the link set up by friends for people to share what they can: https://www.youcaring.com/stephanie-wilson-454345

  • Erica Konopka Oct 21, 2015
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    Why is it animal control's problem? When my dog was hit by a car right in front of my son and I, I put my son and my dog in the car and went immediately to the vet. He waited two hours in the street when he could have just transported the animal himself, and how he's mad someone didn't come to his rescue? Not to mention, he called 911 for his dog? Really? Sounds like he made a bunch of poor decisions, and now wants to place the blame anywhere but on himself. I'm sorry about what happened, but it's ridiculous that 'disgruntled guy' makes headlines.

  • Kristin Byrne Oct 21, 2015
    user avatar

    A quick read of Durham County's animal control policies consider an injured animal a routine call and will be answered during routine hours, but I don't see anything about after hours. They probably don't have the staff. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to tend to your injured pet. Animal control is not an emergency vet. I feel very sad for this man because I know what it's like to have an animal hit by a car, but ultimately, it was his responsibility to move the dog from the road. When I was younger, our family dog was hit by a car, and my dad scooped her up and rushed her to the vet. Calling animal control wasn't an option.

    I do feel for this guy, though. That's a tough break all around.

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