Witness comes forward in dog-throwing incident
The first responder is an animal lover, who says he saw the dogs fall.
By Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB)-- Six days later, David Vickers still can't quite grasp the assault on his senses that he confronted as he drove toward a Highway 27 overpass in Walker County, GA; two dogs, falling into the traffic below.
"Both of them bounced. It was pretty brutal," he says. "Honestly I didn't think the chocolate lab was gonna make it. It seemed like it was lifeless."
Dakota and Hopper are recovering; back with their master, Eric Christian, in Catoosa County.
Christian has Vickers to thank for it.
"He was critical," Christian says.
Vickers reacted immediately.
"I did a u-turn in the median, came down the side of the road, turned on my emergency flashers and blocked one dog," Vickers says. "The other drivers were not great at all. When I was on the other side of the road, they didn't want to change lanes."
"He told me one of the dogs had actually hit the guardrail," says Inez Castleberry, an assistant at an animal clinic who came upon the scene shortly afterward.
"He just scooped the bigger dog up, put them in my car,and I got the other dog out from underneath," Castleberry says.
Castleberry took both injured pets to her clinic. Hopper's broken hip required $1400 worth of surgery.
As quickly as it happened, Vickers saw enough to be certain that Dakota and Hopper were thrown, not dropped, from the overpass.
Walker County Detectives credit him with giving them solid leads toward suspects, including a description of what may have been a getaway car.
"What we'd like is for somebody to turn themselves in, show some remorse," says Major Mike Freeman, Chief Deputy for the Walker County Sheriff's Department.
"It's much better if you find us, than we find you," says Freeman.
Vickers takes it personally.
"I've had a dog that got shot, and one missing," Vickers says. "Anybody who would do that to an animal, no telling what else he'd do."
Major Freeman says the suspect, or suspects, could face charges of High and Aggravated Animal Cruelty. Georgia law classifies that as a felony, punishable by one to five years in prison, and a fine of $15,000.
"I'm a big animal lover," Vickers says. "How would I punish them? Honestly, I don't believe I can say that on television."