CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a driver they say hit a guide dog in a crosswalk Tuesday evening and then fled the scene.
Deputies say Tiffany Taylor and her guide dog, Sapphire, were crossing Southeast Monterey Avenue around 6:45 p.m. near the Clackamas Town Center when an unknown vehicle hit Sapphire as the dog led Taylor across the street.
The driver did not hit Taylor, but Sapphire sustained severe head trauma and a leg injury, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies responded and rushed Taylor and Sapphire to a local animal hospital, where the dog remains under the care of staff who are reportedly working to save Sapphire’s leg.
The sheriff’s office says Taylor is visually impaired and depends on Sapphire, a Golden Labrador, for mobility. Sapphire was provided to her by Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“She was my door to the world.” Tiffany says her seeing-eye dog has brain damage after a hit & run. Sapphire will no longer be able to work as a guide dog. Tiffany won’t be able to take care of her, since she now requires special care. Her good friend wants to adopt her. #fox12 pic.twitter.com/AlNs1OeVvx— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) February 2, 2019
Taylor spoke with FOX 12 Friday night and said her Sapphire will never again work as a guide dog.
“She was taking her step out to guide me the rest of the way, then she was gone. She was just gone,” Taylor said.
Taylor says she heard Sapphire cry out when she was hit by the car.
“Somebody had hit her, they just kept going they didn’t stop, they just hit her," Taylor said. "I heard her crying out. She was hit so hard she was knocked out of her harness which was buckled to her."
Taylor says she wants the driver who hit her dog to come forward.
“All you had to do was stop, accidents happen they happen I know they do, you just had to stop,” Taylor said.
Taylor says her close friend is hoping to adopt Sapphire, since the dog now needs special care herself.
“She won’t be a guide anymore, they’ve already told me she can’t after this experience," Taylor said. They don’t know what her path will be, but it won’t be with me.”
Guide Dogs for the Blind said Sapphire will be moved to their campus in Boring next week.
Taylor says she has received messages of love and drawings from kids she works with at the YMCA in Gladstone; she says the kids hugged Sapphire every day.
They drew these pictures, helping her get better," Taylor said. "It’s been very hard to explain to little kids, why she isn’t here."
Taylor said for now she is depending on her cane and her friends to help her get around. She says it took her years to get her guide dog because of the waiting list.
Deputies are asking for the public’s help finding the driver and the suspect vehicle that hit Sapphire.
Anyone with information that could help law enforcement is asked to contact the sheriff’s office tip line at 503-723-4949 or by using the online tip form at https://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp and referencing case #19-002496.
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