Driver leaves dog to die
ELEANOR Cloherty was left traumatised after watching a P-plate driver kill a dog and callously drive off.
The Tumbulgum resident was driving along Tweed Valley Way with her mother and brother on Tuesday night when they saw a dark green Nissan Skyline hit the dog.
“It was horrifying,” Ms Cloherty said.
“There was a really loud thud and the yelp of the dog. It was really heartbreaking.”
Ms Cloherty said the family was heading towards their Tumbulgum home about 6.30pm when they noticed the driver ahead of them swerving across the road.
“Mum wasn't impressed because he was smoking while driving, and every time he went to put the ash out the window, he'd swerve out of the lanes,” the 19-year-old said.
“I know it's a cliché to talk about dodgy P-platers, I have seen a large number who don't pay attention to what they are doing.”
She believes the dog, a Staffordshire terrier, was visible, walking slowly, and that the driver had enough time to swerve.
“He would've had time. Maybe he just wasn't paying attention,” she said.
“And it's not like he didn't know he'd done it; the sound was loud and there was indicator glass all over the road, so there was damage to the car.”
The dog's owner, Reg French, said he too was disappointed the driver had not stopped after hitting his family's beloved pet “Ruby”.
“We didn't see it, but we heard it,” Mr French said.
“It's just a very sad thing. They just kept going, but I would guarantee they've done some damage to their car.”
He said a pair of young men stopped to help, along with the Clohertys, and assisted him with moving the dog from the road.
One of them was a vet, who assessed the dog but said it had died instantly.
“He gave her a good check over and there wasn't a thing we could do. She's been in the family for nine or 10 years.
“She was deaf and she's got no road sense, but we can't figure out how she got out.”
Mr French's son Jamie said he was devastated by what had happened, and was angry at the driver.
“I was upset,” he said. “I thought the people who stopped were the ones that hit her. If you hit an animal, you should stop.”
Irresponsible and dangerous drivers need to take responsibility, Ms Cloherty says.
“It was horrifying that they just left,” she said. “I think the person that did it should acknowledge it.
“It would have taken all of 30 seconds to knock on a door and say 'We've just hit a dog' or to stop and check what they'd done.”
Ms Cloherty, the owner of an Australian terrier named Tilly, said she'd heard of four dogs hit by cars in Tumbulgum in as many months.
It had upset local pet owners, she said.
“It's heartbreaking because they are an extension of your family.”
Mr French thanked Ms Cloherty's family for their concern and the others who also stopped that night.