Durban - A first-time pet owner is devastated after her dog was accidently dragged for more than 10km behind her vehicle.

According to Empangeni SPCA Senior Inspector Roland Fivas, the young woman – who asked not to be named – had been given the dog, a medium-sized crossbreed, as a present. She was returning home to Empangeni early on Tuesday morning last week with the dog.

“She was coming from her friends and one of them had given her the dog as a present,” said Fivas.

The woman, travelling alone in a double-cab bakkie, tied a rope around the neck of the brown and black dog and placed it in the bin of the vehicle and tied the other side of the rope to a bar in the bin.

Fivas said the dog must have become frightened and tried to flee from the vehicle. “But it was then left dangling on the rope. That’s how it got strangled and dragged alongside the car.”

He said it was unclear how long the dog had been dragged along the road before it was brought to the owner’s attention, “but she had already travelled quite a stretch, maybe about 10km.”

The woman only realised what had happened when she stopped at a petrol station and was alerted by the attendant.

“She was travelling alone in the dark and the weather was bad as it was drizzling so she wasn’t able to hear the dog howling,” said Fivas.

According to a witness, who took pictures of the dog at the garage, the dog was “long dead” when the owner stopped at the petrol station.

“The dog was in such a shocking state. It was hanging by a piece of red rope from the car. Its skin was torn off, the paws were covered in blood, the tongue was sticking out and the eyes were popping out,” she said.

“I don’t know how long it had been dragged along the road like that, but you could see from its injuries it had been dragged quite a distance.”

Fivas said the incident was brought to their attention by witnesses a few hours later and an investigation was launched.

“We worked with the police and were able to track the owner’s vehicle from the garage video footage,” he said.

Empangeni police spokesman Inspector Mbongeni Mdlalose confirmed the incident. The woman was brought in for questioning and from her answers, the police and SPCA were convinced it was an accident. Fivas said the SPCA had closed its investigation.

“She was very devastated. Even when we viewed the video footage from the garage, you could see the utter shock on her face when the petrol attendant showed her the dog.

“She has learnt a very valuable lesson, that all motorists should know. Never transport your dog in an open bakkie as this is extremely dangerous for the animal and other motorists,” he said.

The incident comes days after a Durban grandfather was arrested and charged in terms of the Animal Protection Act after he was seen driving with the family’s dog chained to a towing bracket of his car.

It was reported that the dog was dragged for at least 2km along a road in Chatsworth. The dog was later put down due to the severity of the injuries.

The driver, Mahendra Hariparsad, 58, had said he was not aware that the beloved family pet had been tied to his car when he drove out of the yard.

He said his grandson had tied the dog to the vehicle.

Hariparsad was told to appear in court later this month or pay a R500 admission-of-guilt fine.

Independent On Saturday