No arrest had been made in a notorious dog-dragging case that has enraged thousands of local residents and animal lovers, the Bakersfield Police Department said in a news release Tuesday.
However, investigators have confirmed that the animal received medical treatment soon after the incident. In addition, a medical plan was established with a veterinarian and the dog’s legal owner to address the injuries to the dog. Based on those details, the dog was permitted to remain in the care and custody of the legal owner, who is not the woman who allegedly dragged the dog behind a scooter, police said.
The incident came to light on Sunday and again on Monday after two local Facebook posts went locally viral after still photos and then video were posted showing a woman riding a Bird electric scooter in downtown Bakersfield that appeared to be dragging a small dog behind it.
Brandon Sanders wrote in a Facebook post Sunday that he was riding a bike downtown near A and 20th streets when he saw the woman zipping along at an estimated 15 MPH “dragging this poor dog behind her by a leash.”
“The dog was on its side,” Sanders posted. He and a companion watched it being dragged “at least 100 yards and there’s no telling how long she had been dragging it for before we saw her.”
According to the BPD, police officers and Animal Control were sent to the 2100 block of Pine Street at 3 p.m. Sunday for a report of animal cruelty. Officers spoke with witnesses who said they saw a female subject riding an electric scooter with a small dog being dragged behind it.
The witnesses, presumably Sanders and his companion, advised they intervened and stopped the woman, but the dog had already suffered visible injury. The witnesses directed officers to an apartment complex on 24th Street where they believed the operator of the scooter entered. Despite several attempts to contact any residents inside, officers were unsuccessful, police said.
Unable to determine if an offense had or had not occurred, officers gathered investigative information and cleared the scene pending a follow up investigation.
On Monday, officers followed up and were able to identify and contact all involved parties. The woman was interviewed and released pending further investigation. The dog was found to be in the care of a separate person, who investigators have confirmed is the legal owner of the dog.
Investigators determined that within two hours of the original incident on Sunday the owner had taken the dog to a local veterinarian where the animal was medically treated and released. The dog is expected to fully recover.
According to a spokeswoman from Bird, the company that rents electric scooters via smartphone apps, found the video “deeply disturbing.”
“This type of rider behavior is wrong and prohibited by Bird,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “As soon as we were made aware of the video, we began our own investigation of the incident and have suspended the account for the individual involved in the incident.
“We continue to encourage people in the communities in which Bird operates to report incidents of irresponsible behavior on Birds to us, as well as local authorities. We investigate all reports directed to Bird and take appropriate measures, including removing people from the Bird platform.”
The names of the involved parties are being withheld because the case is still considered an ongoing criminal investigation, police said in the release.
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111.
Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.
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