Dog injured in hit-and run incident

Tye is an energetic and friendly rat terrier.

Bouncing with excitement from room to room, Tye has a reputation of giving "kisses" throughout the day to his owners Brett and Cheree Huff and their three children, ages 5-11. The dog is part of the family, like one of the children, Brett Huff said, remembering how his wife brought the animal home as a puppy, surprising everybody, on their youngest son's first birthday, the day after Christmas four years ago.

But lately, Tye hasn't been bouncing anywhere. He lies on a blanket in the middle of the floor and is carried outside and laid in the grass to relieve himself.

Throughout the day, Tye is given pills to ease the pain. He's too weak to even reject the pill being forced down his throat, Cheree Huff noted.

Tye - an otherwise healthy 4-year-old dog - was hit by a car in front of his home on Chicken Coop Road on Monday, Oct. 6. It was around 8:30 a.m. and the family was getting ready for school and work when they heard a loud noise, the sound of tires skidding across the road, and a yelp.

Looking out the window, he saw Tye limping toward the house and a white Jeep Cherokee speeding off, Brett Huff said, so he instructed his eldest son to grab a blanket and go outside to check on the dog while he finished getting dressed.

When he got outside, Brett Huff continued, his three sons were cradling the beloved family dog. Blood was everywhere. A quick phone call to a Sequim veterinary office and the entire family was out the door and in the car.

The vet's diagnosis: Tye's right front paw was severed - it was hanging by only skin and muscle, the bone visible - and his left hind femur was broken, not to mention multiple scrapes and bruises. He would need his right front leg amputated and possibly multiple surgeries to pin the bones back together in the hind leg, Brett Huff summarized.

The veterinarian said it would cost at least $8,000 to save the dog's life, Brett Huff said. But the family didn't hesitate and asked the vet to do whatever it took to save Tye.

Unfortunately, the clinic Tye was admitted to, and all the other offices Brett Huff called in

Sequim and Port Angeles, wouldn't perform the surgeries without prepayment, something the family couldn't afford.

Just when Cheree Huff was starting to think the dog would have to be euthanized, Brett Huff made contact with a Port Hadlock veterinarian who agreed to perform the necessary surgeries and set the family up on a post-surgery payment plan.

"I couldn't fathom the idea of putting him down just because we couldn't afford to pay for the surgery," Cheree Huff said. "He is so young and has so much life left in him."

"It seemed cruel to have him put to sleep because he has broken leg," Brett Huff agreed. "If he was hurt so badly that it was best for him to be put to sleep that's one thing, but to do it because we couldn't afford the surgery up front, that would be tough."

Cheree and Brett Huff said they take full responsibility for the collision. "We know it's our fault for having the dog out, but you should have stopped to see if he was OK," Brett Huff said, criticizing the Cherokee's driver. "What if it was a child you hit instead?"

Cheree Huff said she doesn't doubt that the driver knew he or she hit the animal. "If we could hear it from the house, he had to of heard him yelp and felt the car hit him. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it."

The couple thanks the person driving the opposite direction who did stop to see if the dog was hurt.

Tye usually is put on a tether that prevents him from wandering into the road when left alone, Brett Huff said. Somehow, the dog escaped outdoors without being tied up the morning of the hit-and-run.

The incident was most difficult on the Huffs' eldest son, who was the first to find the injured dog and who usually sleeps with the animal at night, Cheree Huff said. "He held himself together the whole time and while we went to the vet clinic, but as soon as we got home, he lost it."

The Huffs owe $3,500 in veterinarian fees so far. Tye is expected to undergo a second surgery to restabilize the hind leg with a new pin. The couple is hopeful that the dog won't have to have his front leg amputated, although some of the dog's toes were removed.

Tye is expected to make a full recovery.

Keeping canines safe,

happy and healthy

Take Fido for example. Not only are dog owners responsible for feeding, watering, exercising and taking care of hairy friends, they are liable by law to control the animal. Violations are considered a Class 1 civil infraction, according to Sequim Municipal Code, available online through the city of Sequim.

When it comes to keeping dogs at home and off the street, it's the owner's responsibility, according to the ordinance. Dogs must be prevented from running at large or chasing, running after or jumping at vehicles using public roads.

"If the dog is hit on the roadway, running at large, it is the dog owner who is considered at fault," said Maris Turner, Sequim Police Department crime prevention and public information officer. "On an instance when a pet owner is not present at the time a dog is hit and injured or killed, the driver of the vehicle must make an attempt to locate the pet owner."

"If they cannot locate the pet owner, they can call the police in their respective area to report the incident," Turner advised.

Additional regulations include preventing dogs from biting humans or animals; being accessible to other dogs while in heat for purposes other than controlled or planned breeding; barking, howling, yelping, or whining for more than one hour; prolonged barking between the hours of 10 p.m.-7 a.m.; or entering another person's property without the authorization of that person.

Scott Chandler, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, encourages pet owners to step up to the plate and make sure dogs are safe, happy and healthy.

"It is an owner's responsibility to keep their animal confined to their property," Chandler said. "If you don't and the animal gets lost or hit by a car, it's your fault."

Building a fence, installing an electronic containment system and using a tether are three ways to contain a dog outside. Chandler, however, doesn't advise the tether system.

"We don't recommend tethering because over a long period of time it tends to lead to aggression," he said. "It's one thing if you're going to be gone for a couple hours and Spot is going to be on the tether and has access to water and a doghouse - we're talking about tethering them all the time and never taking them off."

In general, the humane society doesn't adopt pets to homes without outdoor fencing.

All dogs should be microchipped, Chandler added. "If a dog does get lost and it ends up with an agency like us, the first thing we do is scan them for a microchip."

Even better than fencing or tethering a dog, Chandler suggested, is to take the animal along on car rides. "Dogs really want one thing in life - to be with people," he said.

But, it's important to follow the law and use common sense when bringing a dog along for the ride.

"It is against the law in Washington (state) to drive with your pet unsecured in the back of a pickup truck," Chandler reminded.

Harness the animal into the cab, put it in a secured crate or tie it up in the back of the truck under a canopy, he suggested, and don't leave the pet unattended in the vehicle for long periods of time.

The humane society has at least 18 dogs and many cats available for adoption. For more information, call 457-8206.

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