What started as a routine traffic stop ended in tragedy when a Houston police officer’s actions led to the death of a 14-year old blind Chihuahua along the side of a busy highway.
Josie Garcia that her husband, along with their beloved dog, Guero, and a family friend were driving along Houston’s Highway 59 when his SUV was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal.
After pulling the vehicle over, the officer searched the SUV’s contents and found prescription medication which Garcia says belonged to the passenger. Both men were arrested.
When the towing service arrived to impound Garcia’s vehicle, the arresting officer removed Guero, the Garcia’s 14-year old Chihuahua who is nearly blind from cataracts, and left him on the side of the road.
“My husband pleaded with the officer to let him call someone to come get Guero, and asked him to call Barc (Houston’s animal shelter), but he said it wasn’t his problem, that the dog would be fine,” Garcia told KTRK ABC13 News.
The SUV was towed, the men were arrested, and Guero was left alone and unable to see along the highway.
While charges against both men were ultimately dropped, it was too little, too late for Guero. He was struck by a vehicle and killed.
Garcia has since filed a complaint against the officer with the Houston Police Department Internal Affairs.
Tuesday, she told her story to City Council. Mayor Annise Parker was particularly shocked to hear what happened to little Guero at the hands of an HPD officer.
“Let me give you a public apology right now on behalf of the city of Houston,” Parker told Garcia. “I don’t know what airhead — there’s another word in my mind but I’m not going to say it — would throw, you wouldn’t put a kid on the side of the road. You shouldn’t put someone’s pet on the side of the road.”
Council members are now looking to revise any policies involving animals that may be unclear to avoid a similar tragedy in the future.