Dog-gone: Canine catapulted from truck, much to owner’s consternation
You might want to know about Mark and his flying dog before you take your dog for a ride in the truck. Gumbo, or “Bo,” is Mark Bosworth’s year-old blue heeler. Bosworth is a self-described dog lover, and takes Bo wherever he goes. That’s because Bo’s got a job – several in fact. “He’s a working dog,” said Bosworth, owner of Sopris Vending in Silt. “He’s a guard dog and a ranch dog. He travels with me in the truck, and he’s with me at our warehouse. He helps with the horses, and some weekends, he runs cattle.”Bosworth and Bo were on their way to work Tuesday morning, Mark in the cab, Bo in the bed of the truck.Bosworth rigged a rope between the truck’s two side rails to secure Bo in the bed. Bosworth attached a leash that allowed the dog to move around in the truck bed, but not far enough to jump out of the truck. “I don’t want him to get hurt, and so I rigged the safety harness for him,” he said, noting that by their very nature, heelers want to heel just about anything, from cattle to cars. “He’s attached to it every time he rides in the truck.”Tuesday morning, one of Bosworth’s employees fastened Bo’s collar to the leash in the truck bed. Bosworth assumed Bo was safely tied in and headed out of Silt on Highway 6 & 24. Cindy Rose, a groomer at Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale, was also driving to work Tuesday morning, following Bosworth and Bo on the highway near Riverside School, just west of New Castle.”I could see a dog in the back of the truck,” she said. “He was bouncing off the walls. He was going side to side like he wanted to chase cars.”Rose said she doesn’t think the truck with the dog was speeding, but as she followed, the dog continued running back and forth, and suddenly catapulted out of the truck. “I slammed on my brakes,” Rose said. “The truck’s driver didn’t even realize the dog was gone.”Rose pulled over to the side of the road and noticed the dog was limping a little. “He was frightened,” she said. “I pulled down my tailgate and he jumped in.” Rose took the dog to the New Castle Police Department. Bosworth didn’t realize he’d lost his dog until he got through New Castle. Once he did, he started an exhaustive, three-hour search. “I checked the bed of the truck, and found part of Bo’s collar,” he said. “I thought he had jumped out when I was parked at the post office.””The dog had no injuries,” said New Castle administrative police captain Dennis Mahan. “The owner called looking for the dog, and came by the station to pick him up.”Bosworth was elated to get Bo back, but was surprised to receive a ticket for Bo’s flight.”It really hurt my feelings that I was cited for cruelty to an animal,” Bosworth said. Mahan and New Castle police chief Chris Sadler cited Bosworth, even though it was apparent that Bosworth had a harness set up to secure the dog. “The gentleman was actually trying to keep the dog secure,” Mahan said, noting the apparatus set up in the back of Bosworth’s truck. “The problem was the dog somehow got out of his collar.”According to Mahan, it’s not illegal to carry an animal in the back of a pickup like many truck drivers do. The law steps in only when the dog manages to launch out of a moving vehicle.Bosworth’s citation can result in up to a $300 fine, and/or 90 days in jail, said Mahan, which will be up to “the judge to decide.” In Bosworth’s case, it just comes down to bad luck and an ineffective collar, a scenario similar to child buckled into a car seat that malfunctions. “Ultimately, I’m responsible. It is my fault,” he said. “I really care about that dog, and I thought he was safely secured.”Luckily, Rose stopped to rescue the dog.And Bosworth is beefing up his doggie safety apparatus even more: Bo is sporting not only one brand new collar, but two.”I’m not taking any chances,” Bosworth said.
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