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Small dog hit by train in Riverside County loses ear

December 10, 2010 | 11:05 am

Traindog A small dog struck by a train in Riverside lost its right ear but will otherwise be fine and either reclaimed by its owner or adopted out, a Riverside County official said Friday.

The 2-year-old terrier mix was found limping Thursday morning by a worker with BNSF Railway on tracks near Chicago and Marlborough avenues, said John Welsh, a spokesman for the county department of animal services.

Welsh said a freight train most likely hit the female dog earlier that morning or Wednesday night.

The worker, Duane Vanadestine, was conducting scheduled maintenance on the tracks “when the little dog pops up her head between the tracks missing an ear and fur on its backside,” Welsh said. “He’s an animal lover, so it probably broke his heart.”

Vanadestine called animal control, which took the black-and-white mutt to the Western Riverside County Animal Control for medical care, Welsh said. Although most of the dog’s right ear was torn and was ultimately clipped, its injuries appear to be non-life-threatening, Welsh said.

“Its injuries were more bruises and scratches and less dealing with bone issues," he said. "Our vet staff put a staple on the most serious injury on top of her head.”

The dog had no collar or other identification, but Welsh said veterinarians suspect it is not a stray and probably belongs to someone who forgot to close a gate or allowed the dog to roam free.

“If it was a stray, it would be more snarly and filthy,” he said. “Her fur wasn’t too matted, and she’s a sweet dog. It was probably a case of an irresponsible owner.”

The dog may have been running alongside the tracks when a train came chugging along, catching it unaware and dragging it a distance, Welsh said. Or the dog may have seen the train coming, ducked below the tracks and gotten cut up as it lumbered overhead, he said.

Vanadestine and some fellow railroad workers nicknamed the dog “Champ” because it was found near a business by the tracks called Champion Lumber, Welsh said.

If her owner does not step forward to claim her, the dog will be available for adoption starting Thursday, Welsh said. Anyone interested should e-mail shelterinfo@rivcocha.org.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: A 2-year-old female terrier mix was nicknamed "Champ" by railroad workers who found the injured dog. Credit: Riverside County Animal Services

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