Two garbage workers are being hailed as heroes after saving a mixed-pit bull puppy from almost being crushed inside their truck on Monday.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my 14 years,” said Waste Management Inc driver Danny Cormier, who was training six-year-employee Ahriel Jones Sr. on the specialized vehicles used for picking up dumpsters.
Cormier said said they rolled up on the Speedway store at Manatee River Road and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, ready for another day.
Cormier exited the vehicle to open the gates to the bin and Jones proceeded to dump the first dumpster into the truck. As Jones was preparing to pick up the second dumpster, “I saw a little head pop up and stopped Ahriel. He asked what was wrong and I said there is a dog in here.”
Jones asked if it was dead and Cormier said, “No, it’s very much alive.”
The dog was among furniture and other belongings someone tossed out, as well as the dog’s crate. Cormier believes the dog was thrown away inside of the crate and that the gate must have become unhinged.
“But the dog wasn’t making a sound,” Cormier said. “She was just shaking and very frightened, very scared.”
Cormier and Jones were able to get the crate working again and though the dog didn’t want to get in, they were able to secure her. Jones said the intersection is very busy and it was for the dog’s safety.
The pair flagged down a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy who took it over from there.
“I don’t know how long she was in there,” Cormier said. “I don’t think too long. She looked a little dehydrated, but otherwise looked to be in pretty good health. I don’t understand why people who would do this. There are plenty of shelters who would have taken the dog or I’m sure someone on Facebook would have given her a home.”
Jones said the day started like any other and typically there would be one driver. The general rule is that the businesses leave the gates open and the heavy overhead doors down on pick-up day.
“Fortunately, that wasn’t the case,” Jones said. “It was unusual so someone had to get out and I just thank God that we saw the dog. We would have never known and I don’t want to think about that.”
The dog would have likely been crushed to death, either by dropping more garbage onto her or when the truck automatically packs the inside of the truck.
“I just thank God that didn’t happen,” Jones said. “Not on my watch. It makes me kind of (mad) someone would just throw away their dog with all of their belongings.”
The dog is estimated to be six months old and classified as a pit bull-mix. She was taken inside the Speedway store where she was found and given food and water by the store manager before being transferred to Manatee County Animal Services.
The dog remains in a temporary quarantine, but she is in good health and in much better spirits.
“She appeared to be healthy and active,” said Hans Wholgerfahrt, with Animal Services. “Animal abandonment is a crime. Any owner who abandons an animal and such animal suffers injury or malnutrition, or abandons any animal in a street, road or public place without providing care is guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree.
Anyone with information should call Animal Services at 941-742-5933.
The MCSO is also investigating and anyone with information can also call 941-747-3011.