Sep 18, 2014 6:55 PM

Vets try to save leg of dog hit by stolen van

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) Veterinarians on Thursday were trying to save the leg of a fluffy white dog named Gordo who was run down by a stolen van during a wild police chase that was captured live by television helicopters.

The 1- to 2-year-old Maltese mix suffered a deep cut to a rear leg and a smashed hip Wednesday night.

Vets planned to remove part of his hip joint and repair the damage during two to three hours of surgery.

"They presented the owners with the options, which were to try to save the leg or amputate and they went for trying to save the leg," said Shannon Brown, spokeswoman at City of Angels Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City.

Losing part of his hip shouldn't impair the little dog much and animals that undergo such procedures "are expected to be able to run, jump, play," Brown said.

The chase, which lasted more than an hour, began after authorities tried to stop a white Chevrolet Astro van that had been reported stolen.

At various times city police, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol pursued the van as it blew through intersections, drove the wrong way in traffic and ran onto sidewalks.

Authorities bumped the car to make it spin out of control but it kept going. They also laid down a spike strip that blew the tires but the van rolled on in a shower of sparks.

A short time later, Gordo ran into a street in South Los Angeles and was struck by the van under the cameras of circling television news helicopters.

The van eventually was struck by a patrol car and stopped shortly after 9 p.m. in South Los Angeles.

After Gordo was hit, he apparently hobbled home where his owner found him cowering behind the toilet and took him to the vet hospital, where the bloody dog was placed in the arms of a worker and rushed inside.

"He is my family," owner Santos Son told KABC-TV.

It was "incredibly lucky" that Gordo didn't bleed to death, said Kim Carey, one of the vets treating him.

She told reporters that there was a slice up the dog's thigh, possibly caused by a bare tire rim, and there was no nerve damage and little bleeding.

"I haven't ever seen such a clean injury," she said, adding that the hot rim may have acted to cauterize the wound.

Gordo won the hearts of the hospital workers.

"Our technicians have put a heart on his bandages," Brown said.

Gordo responded to being touched and petted even though he was on a lot of pain medication, she said.

"He's very sweet," Brown said.

Well-wishers have gone onto the hospital website to donate several thousand dollars to pay for his medical care.

After the chase Yovany Ervin Rodriguez, 21, of Los Angeles and his passenger, Gwendi Yarubi Valenton, 26, of Bakersfield, were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft. They remained jailed Thursday.


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