ORANGEVALE (CBS13) — An Orangevale family is pleading for the public to help find out who ran over their German Shepherd.
They want to know who could run over a nearly 150-pound dog and not stop. Patron was like a guardian, a protector, and a member of the Gallico family.
John Gallico held what was left at the scene of an accident that killed his beloved German Shepherd Patron a week ago — the front grill of a vehicle.
"Patron was my family member. My whole family, including my wife, my son, and my daughter... It's a void. It's a gap in our life," said Gallico.
Gallico says the 12-year-old family pet died after a hit and run last Tuesday. The family watched in horror as surveillance cameras captured the deadly accident.
He says his two German Shepherds Luna and Patron escaped the backyard.
"Luna ran across the street and then Patron went to get her to bring her back and Luna was able to cross safely and he did not," said Gallico.
Patron was hit by a Land Rover traveling along on Santa Juanita Avenue. And to add insult to injury, he was hit by a second car traveling in the opposite direction, but that driver stopped.
Gallico admits it was an accident but thinks the driver knew what happened because of the impact. Gallico believes Patron was at least 135-155 pounds.
He filed a police report, but so far, they've do not have a suspect and even if they did identify a suspect, criminal charges wouldn't be pursued.
"It's been interpreted by the courts that dogs, specifically domesticated pets, are property. And if you cause damage to that property, it's a violation of the law," Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Reichel said.
Reichel says the driver would, at most, face misdemeanor charges of hit-and-run and failing to file a report.
Gallico hopes the driver will accept responsibility and turn themselves in.
"Next time it could be a child, it could be a bicyclist. And that's the biggest concern here. He took a life and isn't accountable for it," Gallico said.
The two misdemeanor charges now could result in one to two years behind bars and a $500 fine. There is a chance the driver could face felony charges if authorities deem it willful cruelty, i.e., if they intentionally kept going and knew the dog was there.
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