Video of a small dog being dragged behind a Bird electric scooter last week has sparked local animal lovers to join together and advocate for justice for the animal.
About 20 people gathered outside the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office on Saturday to urge the police to arrest the woman who was riding the scooter and for animal cruelty charges to be filed against her.
“We feel that it is obvious that there is animal abuse,” said organizer Annabelle Jimenez. “We feel that we need the support of Bakersfield police and the support of the district attorney at this point. We’re showing that we care and we’re not going to let this go.”
According to the BPD, officers were sent to the 2100 block of Pine Street last Sunday after getting a report of animal cruelty. Officers spoke with witnesses who said they saw a woman riding an electric scooter in the area with a small dog being dragged behind it.
A witness took video of the incident and also took pictures of the woman smiling while holding the injured dog.
The dog suffered visible injury to its feet but was treated by a veterinarian and has been released, according to police.
Officers were able to locate and identify the woman involved and questioned her, but she was subsequently released, which has angered residents to the point that a Facebook group called Saving Our Strays organized a gathering to advocate for action to be taken.
“She has to be held accountable for what she did,” said Eneria Atea. “I’m really disappointed with our Bakersfield Police Department, which has all this evidence against her and she still wasn’t arrested.”
Cindy Jones said it was hard for her to see the pictures and video of the injured dog last week.
“It tears me up and breaks my heart to see this dog all bloody,” she said as she weeped. “This isn’t right. She needs to go to jail. This can’t happen again.”
While the incident last weekend prompted Saturday’s gathering, Jimenez said the group is also advocating for other abused dogs to get the justice they deserve.
“There are countless dogs being abused that never had that video,” she said. “We don’t know who the abuser is, but in this case we do. This is a start in creating a change in our community.”
Atea said the way the BPD has handled the case sends a dangerous signal to animal abusers.
“This is injustice to all animals because ... to slap somebody on the wrist and go on tells people ‘It’s OK, you can get away with this,’” she said. “We need to make people aware that this is not acceptable. Somebody needs to speak up for the animals.”