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Riverside County official warns people against rescuing stray animals on freeways

Spurred by an incident Sunday on the 91 Freeway in Corona in which drivers stopped to help a stray dog, the county’s Animal Services director said Monday, April 2 that trying to save animals on a freeway can be deadly and should be left to professionals.
The California Highway Patrol said there were at least one crash stemming from the incident when two cars crollided while trying to avoid the animal. It was described as a white husky mix who jumped between the westbound and eastbound lanes of the freeway west of Maple Street around 3 p.m. Sunday.
There was no word of the dog’s fate.
“It is far too dangerous for anyone to run around on a freeway trying to catch an animal,” Riverside County Animal Services Director Robert Miller said in a statement. “The best thing to do is call 911 and let the California Highway Patrol handle it, or the local animal control agency with assistance of the CHP.”
People have died in such efforts, he said. In November 2017 a man and the dog he was trying to rescue died near Fort Collins, Colo., when he chased the animal on Interstate 25. They were struck by a semi-truck.
While Miller’s agency does not serve Corona, Animal Services officers have handled many calls to retrieve stray animals from freeways throughout Riverside County.
Almost every time, the rescue involved a coordinated traffic break by the CHP to protect both drivers and the Animal Services officer, the department said in a news release.
“This is a serious public safety issue,” Miller said, adding that the desire to save animals needs to be be balanced with unintended consequences of serious injury or death from trying a rescue.
“We cannot stress enough how dangerous (it is) when people exit their vehicles and make attempts to save a stray. Please let us handle it,” said Animal Services Deputy Director Frank Corvino, who oversees the department’s Field Services Division.
City News Service contributed to this story
Source: Oc Register

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