HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida pet owner is devastated and angry after, he said, his rescue dog was run over on the beach by someone whose job it is to ensure safety.
Speaking with 7News on Sunday, Ron Katz said Rudy, his 6-year-old dog, was his best friend.
Cellphone video recorded Katz marking the canine’s birthday.
“Happy birthday, Rudy. We have a burger for you,” Katz is heard saying in the video.
Katz said he also liked to take the Havanese mix for some fun on the sand. Another video shows the two of them walking on the shore.
“We were like a team,” he said.
But now the sound of Rudy’s bark and jingling collar has been replaced with a piercing silence.
Clutching onto his dog ashes, Katz said he is angry.
He said Rudy was hit and killed on the Hollywood Dog Beach by a truck driven by a lifeguard with the city’s Beach Safety Division.
“I took my eyes off him for a little while, and then, within like a minute, somebody started yelling, ‘Your dog, your dog!'” he said.
Katz said he ran and found Rudy pinned underneath the truck’s front tire.
“I put Rudy on one of my towels, and he was bleeding all over the towel, and then I got to my car and started to drive to the Fort Lauderdale pet hospital,” said Katz.
Sadly, Rudy did not survive.
City officials said Marine Safety Capt. Leo Yost was driving his truck on a narrow pathway close to the dunes at about 5 miles an hour when he hit the dog.
However, in a phone interview with 7News, witness Dimitri Laskaris said that wasn’t the case.
“He was not going 5 miles an hour, but it was negligence, simply put,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the Safety Patrol has been involved in an incident like this on Hollywood Beach.
Back in 2012, the Beach Safety chief ran over a sunbather, but this is the first time a dog has been hit.
Katz has filed a claim with the city, but he said the law only sees Rudy as property, not a family member.
Now Katz wants something to change.
“It’s like a complete oxymoron. He’s in charge of all the safety on the beach, and yet he ran over my dog and killed him,” he said.
Katz has also filed a police report and expects to receive a copy of it later this week. He said he is now looking for a lawyer.
As for what he wants to see changed, Katz said trucks should not be allowed on the beach, only open air vehicles, so they can see better.
Katz added the speed limit should be even slower, and Yost needs to be held responsible.
As of Sunday night, Yost does not face any charges. It remains unclear whether or not he will face any disciplinary action.
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