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Cop Forces Man to Abandon His Elderly Blind Dog by the Road to Die

Cop Forces Man to Abandon His Elderly Blind Dog by the Road to Die

This is how a simple traffic stop turns to tragedy.

If you’re a dog lover, this story will make your blood boil and will break your heart. In fact, you merely need to be a decent human being to be outraged.

According to Houston, Texas, resident Josie Garcia, her husband and a friend were out in their truck on Sunday, July 13, when the police pulled them over for failing to use a turn signal. With the men in the truck was the Garcia family dog, little Guero.

Guero, a 14-year-old white Chihuahua, suffered from cataracts and was nearly blind. He always accompanied Garcia when he tooled around town.

family photos of guero

Family photos of little Guero. Photo credit: Garcia family

Upon conducting a search of the truck, the officer reportedly found a controlled substance belonging to the man riding with Garcia. He took both men into custody and arranged a tow truck to move the vehicle. What he reportedly did not do was make any arrangements for taking care of the dog.

“My husband pleaded with the officer to let him call someone to come get Guero, and asked him to call [the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC)], but he said it wasn’t his problem, that the dog would be fine,” Garciatold KTRK.

Just like that, Garcia was hauled away in a police car, forced to watch as the cop and the tow truck abandoned his little blind dog by a busy road. To see a Houston TV news report that includes video showing the location where Guero was left, click here.

As it turns out, the scene of this arrest was literally two blocks away from the BARC facility. Getting animal control to the scene or dropping the dog off at BARC would have been easy and quick. Despite this, the police officer apparently did nothing and left Guero to fend for himself.

Imagine the poor dog’s confusion at this moment. His human, obviously distressed, is driven away by a stranger in a car while the familiar family truck is towed away and then everyone is just gone. There Guero must have sat, alone by the road, listening to the roar of traffic, paralyzed with fear, wondering when someone was coming back for him.

The Search for Guero Ends in Heartbreak

When Garcia finally reached his wife, Josie, that Sunday, she began peppering the area with “lost dog” fliers. Here’s one captured by a Twitter user. We’ve redacted the Garcias’ phone number for privacy purposes:

lost dog flyer

From Sunday to Tuesday, there was no news. On Tuesday, a caller told Josie Garcia that he’d seen Guero walking on a traffic ramp and had tried to grab him. Unfortunately, rush hour traffic prevented him from successfully rescuing the dog. Josie rushed to the location, only to find her dog’s dead body on the shoulder of the highway about a half mile from where he’d been left.

Guero had been struck and killed by a car. Josie wrapped his tiny, crumpled body in a towel and took him home to bury him.

“I felt so much pain like I never knew I had,” Josie Garcia told KTRK.

Officials dropped all charges against Garcia, by the way. In the end, he did nothing wrong except fail to use that turn signal, but now his beloved dog is dead.

An Apology From Houstons Mayor is Not Enough

Devastated, Josie Garcia appeared before the Houston City Council on July 22. She spent her allotted three minutes telling her story. You can watch video of her statement and the reaction of the mayor and council members at this link. Fast forward through the public comment session to 105:32.

“Let me give you a public apology right now on behalf of the city of Houston,” Mayor Annise Parker immediately responded. “I don’t know what airhead there’s another word in my mind but I’m not going to say it would throw, you wouldn’t put a kid on the side of the road. You shouldn’t put someone’s pet on the side of the road.”

Reportedly, the mayor and city council members now are wondering whether Houston has a clear policy regarding the proper handling of pets involved in law enforcement situations. If they don’t have such a policy, they clearly need one.

josie garcia befor city council

Josie Garcia makes her statement to City Council. Photo credit: City of Houston

The Garcias have filed a complaint with the Houston Police Department (HPD). HPD says its internal investigation into this incident may take up to six months to resolve. Whoa stop the clock. Six months?

Craig Malisow of the Houston Press took the city to task in a blog post on July 29, 2014. Excerpts from that post hit the nail on the head:

We can understand why a complex case with multiple witnesses with conflicting stories might be a real quagmire of a case, but, really, to say it could take 180 days to determine whether an “airhead” (to quote Mayor Parker during the public input session) left a freaking dog on the side of the road is a bit of a stretch.

We don’t understand why a complaint as odd as this is allowed to remain unresolved for more than 72 hours. Either Garcia is withholding part of the story, or just fabricating it outright, or this police officer acted irresponsibly. Call us selfish, but we think the public — if not Garcia and her husband — deserves a timely answer.

Forcing someone to abandon a helpless pet by the road is inexcusable conduct. That a law enforcement official is reportedly to blame for making Garcia do such a heartbreaking thing is outrageous.

If you agree, please sign this petition. Care2 will ensure it gets to Mayor Parker as well as Houston’s Chief of Police and its City Council. It asks them to ensure there’s an appropriate disciplinary outcome to this investigation, and to ensure there is a mandatory protocol for handling a situation like this so it never happens again.

Poor little Guero. We’re sorry, buddy. You didn’t deserve this.

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Photo credit (main image): Thinkstock

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1011 comments

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5:44AM PDT on May 24, 2015

We need to take a good, hard look at whom becomes a cop - and why. I starting to think this profession attracts more bullies, and fewer of the community-minded, as we would hope.

And I wonder....would he have done this to a fellow "white", or was this cruelty an extension of his loathing of "Hispanics" ? This cop acted in an EVIL manner; I am aghast.

But..... this IS Houston, Texas, where such things are actually alright with the Greedy Old Pigs in charge (some pigs being more "equal" and all).

3:15PM PDT on May 23, 2015

I have zero love of cops.

8:50PM PDT on May 21, 2015

I vote for making a eunuch out of the offending officer. At least that would prevent future generations of this depravity.

3:55AM PDT on May 21, 2015

awwww

4:00AM PDT on May 20, 2015

Yes, I remember that very sad story. The petition is closed now but, I signed it - it got over 56M signatures. I would like to know what happened to the officer who did such a horrible thing to the Garcia family and a little innocent blind dog that ends up being hit by a vehicle after being left at the side of the road. How devastating. Had the officer had just a little compassion, of course, the poor pup would still be with his human family. I hope that officer was fired, quite frankly. Laws must be changed or created so that such a thing never happens again.

6:02PM PDT on May 19, 2015

oh my God-- unbelievable

6:43AM PDT on May 15, 2015

Are American cops the most cruel, selfish and sadistic in the world? Maybe it is a reflection of the cruel conservative philosophy that is rampant in America.

11:33PM PDT on May 7, 2015

Michele B--
My father was born in 1906, the youngest of eight. He grew up on a working farm in Md. He told me he could learn all he needed to know about a man by watching how he treated animals.
He was a Col. in the Army during WW II and taught for 30 years, but he said he learned the most in his first ten years,

11:00PM PDT on May 7, 2015

I just read the story I cried, boy I think I would sreamed at that officer. They want respect well they should give it also! That is so sad for that family he was a cute little dog who died on the side of the road all by himself looking for his loved ones. He thought why did they leave me? Where did they go? How sad is that! And who ever hit him shame on them! Why didn't they stop to pick him up? Karma it will all come back to them!

7:26PM PDT on May 6, 2015

Unbelievable! I can't understand some people's lack of compassion and concern for innocent animals.

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