SOUTHINGTON – A local family whose dog died in a hit and run earlier this month is asking that those responsible come forward and apologize to the children who witnessed their pet being struck and killed.
Ashley Upson, her partner Diane Guay and their two ten-year-old boys, Benjamin Guay and Bryce Upson, witnessed a black sedan strike their one-year-old dog Gator as it occurred at 5:22 p.m. Dec. 4 across the street from their home on Flanders Street. Their daughter, 15-year-old Peyton Upson, was upstairs at the time and afterwards accompanied the family to the West Hartford Animal Hospital on the slim chance that Gator could be saved. However, the family later learned that Gator died on impact.
“The two boys were playing outside when it happened,” said Guay. “Gator got out and ran in front of the house and then ran across the street. We asked him if he wanted to go to ‘school’, which is what we called the doggy day care that we took him to and he loved. He understood what we meant and started running back across the road. He was three feet from being back in our driveway when he was hit. There is a street light in front of our driveway so there is no way that they didn’t notice him. When the car hit him, he bounced into another lane and then another car hit him in the face but we believe he died instantly on the initial impact. The traffic came to a stop and we were all stunned. I screamed and ran into the road. Another woman came out and helped us put Gator in the truck to take him to the hospital.”
Upson said that while she understands that it is a pet owner’s responsibility to prevent a dog from getting out, she believes that her 75 pound dog would not have died if the car that hit him wasn’t going as fast as it was.
“We just hope that the person who hit him will have the conscience to apologize to our kids who saw it happen,” she said. “We are trying to teach our kids that people will be held accountable for their actions. We reported it to the police the next day when they came to our house. They apologized for what happened and told us that, in reality, there is a slim chance of finding out who did it. Normally, it would be the pet owner’s responsibility for what happened, but since the person evaded responsibility there would be a charge, which is why they might not come forward.”
After the accident, Peyton made a sign which she posted outside of the house, which reads “Who killed our baby boy? If you have info, contact 860-833-4160.” Upson and Guay have also called auto shops trying to find black sedans with damage on the front end.
Upson said that she has used the unfortunate death of Gator as a life experience to teach her children that everybody dies. She said that the dog was well loved and left an empty void in her family’s life.
“We got him Dec. 28 last year when he was just a puppy,” said Guay. “We went to play at day care three to 5 times a week and the owner would tell us that he liked to run around for 15 minutes every day. He was good friends with our three cats and they used to sleep cuddled up together. He would sit at the door and wait for people to come home and watch as the kids went on the bus every day. It’s unfortunate that he died when he was so young. We had just celebrated his birthday on October 24 at the doggy day care. He wore a birthday hat all day.”
Now, all that the family has left is Gator’s paw print, the pictures they took of him and the memories they made. They are coping by doing their best to remember the good times.
“Upson asks that those with information about the accident call them at 860-833-4160.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.