Dog gets hit by train then rescued from tracks
Golden lab lived in nearby homeless encampment
WILDER - Police officers were trying to assist a large dog that was in poor condition Tuesday evening when it abruptly ran away from them straight into the path of an on-coming freight train.
Hartford Officer Aleya Catalfamo said she was just yards from the dog and was trying to wave in the dark to get the attention of the locomotive engineer but there was simply no way for the train to avoid striking the 85-pound Golden lab mix in the hindquarters.
Officer Sean Fernandes said he and Catalfamo had initially been called to the tracks, which run behind the Frost Park industrial area at the end of A Street in Wilder, at around 8 p.m. by a homeowner on a nearby side street.
Hartford firefighters Lebrun and Harvey carry the dog to Officer Catalfamo's police cruiser
"One of the local residents called in an animal complaint about a dog that had been barking for over an hour in the tree line so we went down to look into it," Fernandes recalled. "We located the dog which was walking along the tracks and it ended up bringing us back to a campsite where I knew the dog had been staying with its (homeless) owners. We walked it back with us and tried getting it up into the cruiser but it ended up running onto the train tracks when a train was coming."
Fernandes said he and Catalfamo ran after the dog, trying to call it back to safety but "I guess it has problems seeing and hearing due to ongoing medical issues and it ended up running right down the middle of the tracks," toward the approaching train, "and right before it got hit it kind of moved to the side."
Police said the badly injured dog, which appeared to have broken at least one of its rear legs, was initially beside the tracks as the train continued on but then crawled back onto the rails prompting police to put in a call for assistance to the Hartford Fire Department. Dispatchers also called the railroad and had them shut down train traffic through Wilder because the train could still be heard maneuvering in the area.
Firefighters David Lebrun and Luke Harvey responded with the department's Forestry Truck and loaded the lab onto a "Stokes Litter", a mesh-metal basket that is normally used to rescue humans, and carried the animal for a hundred yards down the tracks to the industrial park where they placed it in the back of Catalfamo's cruiser so she could drive it to a vet.
"Right now he is over at SAVES in Lebanon, still being treated," Fernandes said late Tuesday evening, noting "He was in pretty rough shape. The vet said it was severely dehydrated and had ongoing issues with its eyes due to lack of care."
Police did manage to contact the dog's owner and let him know what had happened.
Fernandes said it was not clear Tuesday evening whether or not the dog would survive the ordeal.
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