MANTECA (CBS) – A bystander rescued a small dog that was allegedly thrown from a moving vehicle by its owner and then helped track down the culprit, authorities said.
The woman, who asked not to be identified publicly, said she saw the driver of a vehicle in front of her fling his tiny Chihuahua-Terrier mix dog out of the driver’s side window, leading to a fall of nearly five feet to the ground.
“I look down and there’s this little dog rolling out,” she said.
The bystander immediately swooped in to rescue the flea-ridden, emaciated dog and then began following the suspect’s vehicle. The driver, identified as 67-year-old Jose Mendez, pulled into a DMV parking lot just as Manteca Police Officer Armen Avakian was leaving.
“I was driving down the road, this lady flagged me down and said, ‘Hey, someone just threw a dog out the window,’” Officer Avakian said.
Avakian said he located Mendez inside the DMV, waiting to fill out some paperwork. When questioned, the suspect said he just didn’t want the dog around anymore.
Manteca Animal Services Officer Les Rowe said dogs are dumped on the roadway around the town about four to five times a week.
“I’ve seen a lot of them out in the country,” Rowe said. “Just recently picked up three off a highway, the center divider.”
Mendez was arrested on animal cruelty charges. The injured dog is expected to recover.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)