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Constable holding Chihuahua

Real-Life Incident Involving Dogs and a Car Crash


K-9 unit in Calgary, Alberta Canada. In the 25 years I have been serving as a Police Officer I have seen too numerous motor vehicle accidents to mention. Unfortunately one in particular came to mind when I saw my wife, Tannas, ready to place her first order from the G.W. Little catalogue.

I know how she loves to dress our year and half old Chihuahua, Sam, (as seen in my pocket). However it wasn't the t-shirts or jackets and booties Tannas had marked off to order that caught my attention, it was a car seat and harness that brought to mind the incident I am going to share with you.

It was a typical August day in Calgary, sunny and calm. This day an accident took place that claimed five lives and would forever affect the lives of many people, including witnesses. The findings are not fi nal, therefore I am only able to offer my opinion on this tragic accident.

The major city thoroughfare, Deerfoot Trail, is 3 to 4 lanes each way with a speed limit of 100 kilometers and a wide center grassy median. A woman and her passenger were headed northbound with two medium-sized mixed breed dogs. Witnesses allege that all of a sudden this woman veered across three lanes of traffic, through the center median and into oncoming traffic. Her vehicle hit a car traveling in the opposite direction head on. The driver, her passenger, and the person traveling southbound were killed, two on impact and the third later in the hospital. The 2 dogs in the northbound vehicle also perished. It's also reported that two other people involved in the crash were injured, one critically.

In twenty-five years of police work, eighteen of those with the K-9 unit, I have yet to see such an enormous tragedy that could have been averted. The dogs traveling in the northbound car were not secured and this may be the possible cause of the accident. As witnesses come forward, it has been reported that the dogs may have been distracting the driver. This accident might have easily been avoided if the dogs were properly restrained. Car harnesses could have possibly saved the lives of the three people and the two dogs. It goes without saying this accident will forever affect the families of the victims and the witnesses.

As the owner of three dogs of various sizes, I can't express strongly enough the importance of securing your pets while traveling, not just for their safety and yours, but for everyone else sharing the road. Perhaps one small purchase and use of a car harness could have saved lives here.

A harness takes mere seconds to snap on, and even less time to fasten to the car's seatbelt or dog car seat to secure your pet. By law, people must secure their children, why not their pets? What is the price of your pets' safety to you as well as your own? A stranger's life? To me and Tannas our pets, (working police dog included), are part of the family. Their safety is just as important to us as our own and the safety of perfect strangers. Improving safety for all is well worth the price of a pet harness.

In all my years as a Police Officer I have learned that there is no amount of money a family member wouldn't pay to have a loved one back. Buckle up - yourself AND your pets!


-Constable Doug Perrault


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