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TALLADGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Animal activists in Ottawa County are calling for change after a deputy shot and killed a dog and left it on the side of the road.
The sheriff’s office says a driver hit a dog around 10 p.m. Saturday near 10th Avenue and Lake Michigan Drive near Standale. The driver did not stop. A passerby called the sheriff’s office, alerting them the dog was lying on the side of the road.
Deputies say when they got to the scene, the animal was severely injured and clearly suffering. Per their policy, the deputy dispatched the animal, shooting and killing her.
The sheriff’s office says because they have no way of disposing of the animal, they left it there and alerted the road commission to pick it up.
On Sunday, rescue volunteers found the animal and took it to a local shelter to be scanned for a microchip.
“She was just lying right here. I saw a huge white lump and I knew that was her because it (the dog) didn’t belong here,” said Sara Levering who volunteers with Mosh Pit Rescue in Grand Rapids. “Her leg was almost completely broken off. There was no one around here at all.”
Levering says she was informed about the dog lying on Lake Michigan Drive through Facebook. She and another volunteer went to the pick it up — something she says they’re often called to do in this kind of incident.
Levering, among others, took to social media expressing their frustration with the way the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office handled the animal.
“We feel even if it was the right thing to put her down, that should have been left up to the family or the vet who can properly assess the dog,” Levering said.
The sheriff’s office says at the time, the animal was not wearing a collar, so they couldn’t contact the family right away. They say this is not an uncommon practice when it comes to severely injured animals, but when it happens, they try to end the animals suffering as quickly and humanely as possible.
Levering says after cross referencing missing animals posts on social media, she was able to find the owners. She says she learned the dogs name was Doni. She was 14 years old and deaf. Her owners say she got out on accident and likely could not hear the road.
Levering says this incident has caused more suffering to the dog’s family than necessary.
“I can only imagine what the owners are going through,” Levering said. “I think there needs to be some kind of other plan to make sure that someone’s pet is cared for while they can’t care for it themselves.”
The sheriff’s office says they’re continuing to investigate, but remind pet owners to always have some form of identification on their animal.