Puppy Tied to Tracks Narrowly Saved By Train Conductor in California

Wednesday, 10 Apr 2013 01:38 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 10-month-old puppy tied to train tracks in California narrowly escaped death last week when a train engineer deployed the emergency brakes to keep from hitting the animal.

Officials said a 78-year-old man tied the poodle-terrier mix, which has since been named Banjo, to the tracks near Mecca, Calif., on April 2. The engineer of the approaching train saw a man walking away from the tracks and used the emergency brakes to stop the train.

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"The train stops and [the engineer] realizes, of course, there's a little fluffy dog right there tied to the tracks," John Welsh of Riverside County Animal Services told ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC.

Union Pacific special agent Sal Pina arrived on the scene, untied Banjo, and detained the man, who claimed he tied the dog to the tracks because his family didn’t want it and didn’t know what else to do with it, according to a statement from Animal Services.

"It's probably one of the worst things I've seen," Pina said in the statement. "I've never seen something like this."

Police decided not to pursue an animal-cruelty case against the man because he "appeared to be confused, or senile, and didn't fully understand what he had done," according to Animal Services.

Nicknamed Banjo, a reference to old traffic signals seen on rail lines, the dog was taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms where he was examined and bathed by veterinary technician Jo Marie Upegui. Banjo is now available for adoption.

"He's just a sweet dog that wants to be loved," Upegui told KABC. "I would prefer to be someone who can treat him gently and give him the kind of love he needs right now, because he's been through so much."

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