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Orange County jogger honored posthumously for her compassion toward animals

February 17, 2011 | 11:48 am

An Orange County jogger struck by a car and killed as she tried to protect a dog that had wandered into traffic will be honored posthumously for her compassion by the PETA animal-rights advocacy group.

Mara Steves, 48, will receive PETA's Compassionate Action Award for coming to the canine’s aid, the group said.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Steves was jogging in Laguna Hills about 11 a.m. Sunday when she saw the dog dart into traffic and stopped to grab it. She was kneeling with it on the corner of Molton Parkway and Nueva Vista Drive when two cars collided nearby.

At least one of the cars ran onto the sidewalk, striking Steves, authorities said. She was declared dead at the scene.

"The death of such a caring soul is a loss not only to family and friends but also to the community," PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a statement. "We hope that the example of love and courage that she set in coming to the aid of even the smallest and most vulnerable will inspire others to help animals in distress."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will present Steves' family with a framed certificate, along with a note of appreciation from the organization.

The three occupants of the two cars were treated at a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said. The dog, which was unharmed and disappeared from the scene by the time emergency crews arrived, did not appear to have had anything to do with the crash, according to authorities.


Neighbors remember woman fatally struck by car after pulling dog off street

-- Ann M. Simmons