Dog recovering after fall from overpass onto Glenn Highway
An Anchorage woman says she’s grateful her severely injured pet dog is alive Friday, a day after the animal fell or was thrown from an overpass into traffic on the Glenn Highway.
Jennifer Chavez, an Anchorage teacher, took to Facebook’s Anchorage Scanner Joe page to spread word of the incident, which took place at about 4 p.m. on one of the two overpasses above the Glenn at Muldoon Road. She credited Holly Thorssin, a local animal-rescue volunteer who was driving on the highway at the time, with saving Amos’ life.
“Holly risked her own well-being to rescue him from being hit by rush-hour traffic, and she drove him to the vet,” Chavez wrote. “He needs major surgery from his fall, but thanks to his angel Holly, he is alive.”
Laura Atwood, a spokeswoman for Anchorage Animal Care and Control, confirmed that animal-control officers are investigating Chavez’s report as a potential incident of animal cruelty.
“We did receive a complaint yesterday concerning a puppy being thrown over the overpass,” Atwood said. “If we are able to find out who is responsible for this, we will be referring this case to the Anchorage Police Department because this is a cruelty case.”
Atwood declined to discuss the case in detail, citing the open investigation.
Chavez, reached by phone Friday, said her family has owned 4-year-old Amos, apparently a border collie mix, and twin brother Andy since they picked up the dogs from a Craigslist post in Wasilla.
“They stole our heart and we just had to leave with both of them, even though we were only planning to get one,” Chavez said.
Chavez’s husband and brother-in-law were playing with Amos at the Centennial Park campground Thursday afternoon, she said, when another dog apparently spooked Amos and the puppy ran away. The men had been searching for Amos for about 20 minutes when they got word of the fall.
Shannon McCarthy, with the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, said Amos fell nearly 20 feet. The twin overpasses at the redesigned Glenn-Muldoon interchange are now 18 feet, 6 inches above the Glenn – an increase from the original overpass’s 15 feet, 7 inches.
Soon after the fall, Chavez learned of Thorssin’s rescue.
“She saw him land into the traffic on [the Glenn] and she went over to grab him -- she had to wait for a clearing, and she definitely risked her own life in saving him,” Chavez said. “And then she drove him to the vet and saved his life.”
Thorssin said Friday afternoon that she was driving along the Glenn when she saw a “black blur” falling onto the highway. After she picked Amos up from the roadway, she put the dog in a friend’s truck to drive him to the vet; she wasn’t sure if Amos was alive amid the blood all over the truck, but she looked over and the dog was sitting up.
Because of her previous animal-rescue work, Thorssin said, it felt “like it was fate” that she was at the right place at the right time to save Amos.
Amos suffered severe fractures to a front leg, Chavez said, but didn’t have any internal bleeding due to the fall. A surgery appointment for the leg has been scheduled for Monday.
Although Chavez is hoping the dog wasn’t thrown from the overpass, she said the possibility makes her feel “terrible.”
“I wish that-- I hope it was just an accident in some way,” Chavez said. “Our hearts are broken.”
Chavez said that Thorssin saw two girls, one with black hair, on the overpass at the time of the fall. She’s hoping that the community can shed light on what happened to Amos.
“I just believe someone has to have seen something,” Chavez said. “With all of that traffic, there’s no way it was just one person who saw it.”
Animal Care and Control is asking that anyone with information on Amos’ fall contact officers at 907-343-8119.
Emily Carlson contributed information to this story.
An earlier version of this story identified the dog as 4-months-old-- the dog in question is 4-years-old.
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