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Lucky Seven recovering; police looking for person who threw dog off overpass

SHARE Lucky Seven recovering; police looking for person who threw dog off overpass

Haley Savage drove her 1-year-old boxer, "Seven," home on Friday.

For the next four weeks she'll have to wad soft dog food into little balls and hand feed Seven. She won't be able to have any hard doggy treats or even a bone.

But considering the condition Seven was in just two days earlier, Savage is happy her lucky dog is going home at all.

Wednesday afternoon, someone threw Seven off the 3900 South overpass spanning I-15, a distance of more than 15 feet. The event was witnessed by several motorists who called 911. Some reported seeing a red SUV with either a rack or rails on top of the vehicle, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

One man stopped his vehicle and got out onto the busy freeway to chase the dog. Other vehicles came to a halt as the man and Seven ran down the road.

"Here comes a dog cruising down the car pool lane and a man chasing after him," said Monique Latteier, an off-duty Salt Lake police emergency dispatcher and animal lover. "The dog just collapsed almost into the man's arms she was so exhausted."

Seven was "bleeding all over" with her jaw hanging off to one side. Latteier said the man, in his late 20s to early 30s, should get credit for chasing after Seven. But she never got his name after offering to take the dog to the vet for him.

After Latteier got back into her car with Seven, she called some friends at UHP's dispatch center, and that's when she found out other motorists reported the dog had been thrown.

"I was horrified. I am such an animal lover. I can't even really comprehend anyone doing anything to such an animal. I was stunned," she said.

Savage was contacted and went straight to the vet's office.

"I was hysterical," she said.

Seven had blood filling her lungs, a broken rib, and a mangled jaw that required several pins to be inserted. She also had four teeth removed and will have to have another surgery in about a month.

"Her jaw split in half. It fractured the whole jaw," she said. "It was pretty scary."

Despite the severity of her condition, Savage said she was surprised it wasn't worse considering what happened.

Savage, who left the door to her home cracked open so Seven could go in and out while she was at work, believes Seven either jumped over the fence surrounding her yard on her own or was coaxed to jump over it. She lives close to the area where Seven was tossed. At some point, Savage believes someone coaxed Seven to them, whether it was before or after she got out of her yard, because at the vet's office she was throwing up a lot of shredded beef, something Savage said she never feeds Seven.

Now she is trying to find out if there is any surveillance tape, either from the freeway or a nearby business, that may have captured the horrific incident.

"It's unfathomable. What kind of person would do this? I didn't think there were people in the world who would do this," said Savage, who was a supporter of the bill recently approved by the Utah Legislature making cruelty to dogs a felony offense.

The action has outraged animal rights activists and pet enthusiasts and prompted the Humane Society of Utah to offer a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. The outpouring of support since the incident has been overwhelming, Savage said.

"A lot more positive has come from it rather than negative," she said.

Enough donations from the public have come in that all of Seven's medical bills should be covered.

"I can't believe it. It's amazing," Savage said of the support.

The Utah Highway Patrol said it had few leads into possible suspects Friday. Anyone with information can call police at 840-4000.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com