A dog may be a man’s best friend, but that role has its limits. We all know that dogs are smart animals. However, all dogs have their limits when it comes to function—they can’t do everything we can do. That’s common knowledge as we might all think, but apparently it isn’t so. A man was arrested last Sunday by the Washington State Patrol for something that none of us have ever heard before. The arrest happened after a high-speed pursuit of a driver, which happened to be a dog—a pit bull to be exact. Stories like this could not be made up. That’s what the arresting officer, Heather Axtman, said after the arrest happened. Axtman was dispatched after their office received multiple calls regarding some reckless driving on the state highway, Interstate 5. One car, a 1996 Buick, hit two cars on separate occasions and did not stop on either case. At that point, multiple people had called it in already, and the state troopers responded immediately.
The pursuit topped at a dangerous 109 miles per hour. At one point, one trooper maneuvered to corner the speeding car, and that’s when he noticed that there was no man on the driver seat but a dog instead. The suspect—the dog’s owner—was on the passenger seat steering the wheel. The problem escalated even more as the reckless duo managed to escape the troopers even further and steered towards Centennial Trail. This particular trail in Snohomish County is a popular trail for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. It’s known to be a busy location, but the trail was unusually empty that day. The troopers regarded it as nothing short of a miracle that the reckless car did not have a single soul to hurt that time. According to Axtman, they were thankful for that scenario at the very least.
Because of the stay-at-home measures that had been put in place in Seattle to help improve the coronavirus case, the traffic congestion in the area has been significantly down. It’s likely also the reason why foot traffic and bike traffic were slow that day as well, even though people have been resorting to those measures for some form of exercise during this time. To end the pursuit, the troopers were able to lay down spike strips to halt the dog-driven car. The care ended up crashing on the side of the road. Neither the suspect nor the dog was injured, but the car did sustain minor damage. When the 51-year old Lakewood man was arrested, he explained that he was merely trying to teach his dog to drive. In the 12 years that she’s been a state trooper, Axtman said that she’s never heard that explanation in her career. Actually, she’s probably not the only one. We can’t bring to mind any other similar scenario of a pet owner teaching its pet to drive. Regardless of what kind of pet it might be, it will and does sound incredulous.
The man is now facing multiple charges including reckless driving, hit-and-run felony eluding, and driving under the influence. The bond was set at $8,500. The last charge explains a lot about this situation, and it’s probably what most of us think of when we come across stories like this. It makes one think about pet ownership in general and how some animals out there probably deserve better owners. There aren’t a lot of legalities and prerequisites in order to become a pet owner, and situations like this call for a second look into the matter.
Not only did the man endanger himself and his community, but he also endangered the life of his pet. Pit bulls are known to be quite loyal creatures. They are also known to have submissive personalities. A pit bull wouldn’t know this situation to be unusual, especially if his owner is encouraging it. There’s a possibility that this might not be the first time that this kind of driving has happened for the dog and the owner. Given that pit bulls are highly intelligent creatures or aggressive animals have nothing to do with the situation at this point. Its owner is the one in control of the entire situation, and the animal is left with its life in danger because of its owner.
It’s an unfortunate and sad scenario that we often see when it comes to animal rights and care—especially dogs. There are so many pets out there that are mistreated by their own people, and most of it goes unnoticed or unknown. Thousands of dogs die every year from abuse, and most people are oblivious to it completely. Although the dog in this situation didn’t get hurt per se, the matter could’ve been so much worse. If the dog did happen to hit a pedestrian in the process—regardless of fault or instinct or whatnot—there’s a possibility that it would’ve had to be put down. The recklessness of its owner almost cost the dog its life and the life of other people on the road.
According to Axtman and the troopers, the pit bull was taken to an animal shelter after its previous owner was arrested. We have no information as to what the dog’s life had been with its previous owner, but the reckless driving scenario has painted a clear enough picture. This will now be an adjustment period for the canine, but the troopers are staying positive with it all. The dog showed no resistance or aggression towards the officers when they arrested its owner. The light at the end is the thought now that this dog might now have a better life in a different setting. Although animal shelters may not always be the best place for animals to go, it might just be better in this particular scenario.