Helene Delauney of Arlington, Va., says police cruiser was speeding when it struck dog

1:52 AM, May 5, 2012   |    comments
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Sebastian, a yellow lab struck by a police cruiser, suffered several wounds including a large gash on his head.

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) - There's no dispute: an Arlington County Police officer hit a dog with his cruiser Thursday night. What is in dispute is whether he was speeding or not.

"It sounded like a gunshot," says Ingrid Fahrenheim who is visiting a neighbor. She went running out to see if she could help the dog's owner, Helene Delauney who was hovering over her howling yellow lab Sebastian who was lying on his side.

"I feel very lucky he's still alive," said Delauney, who had rescued Sebastian in Richmond where he survived a housefire.

"She was screaming hysterically, and the officer never came over to talk to her or to see if the dog was okay. He just stood there and put on Chap Stick," said Fahrenheim.

The dog had a large gash on the center of his forehead and several other wounds. Delauney took him to SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center in Fairfax.

"He's not out of the woods yet," said Veterinarian Sara Brown. She said Sebastian may have neurological damage from the impact.

The incident happened on Pollard Street at 9:45 p.m. just after Sebastian darted out through Helene Delauney's screen door to greet her boyfriend.

"He was lying on the ground, howling. Then he stopped moving. I thought he had passed away," Delauney said

Fahrenheim believes the police officer must have been speeding. Helene says she's sure he was.

"He was going 40. I know because he was going really fast," said Delauney.

She says police cars often speed on Pollard Street while heading to a nearby fire station. And, she's says she's sure of something else.

"He did not have his headlights on." She says she would have seen them if he had had them on.

"That could've been a child. If he couldn't stop for a dog, than he couldn't stop for a child either," said Fahrenheim.

Arlington County Police Spokesman Dustin Sternbeck says their investigation determined the officer was not at fault. He says the officer followed protocol by stopping and calling his supervisor and waiting on the scene.

Sternbeck said they determined the officer was not speeding because speeding would be "inconsistent with the injuries." He said the veterinarian told them that the dog was going to make a full recovery.

Sternbeck asked, "Why wasn't the dog on a leash?"

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