A 10-month-old puppy had a very lucky escape after being tied to a train track by a 'senile' elderly man.
A train engineer avoided crushing the dog, now nicknamed Banjo, when he engaged an emergency braking system.
The engineer noticed a man walking away from the tracks, and saw that he'd left something behind. The object turned out to be a the 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix.
The incident happened on the afternoon of Tuesday 2 April, at about 5pm on tracks in the Mecca area of California, according to the Riverside County Animal Services.
Union Pacific Special Agent Sal Pina attended the scene, where he arrested the man and, moments later, untied the dog from the tracks.
He said he was especially shocked because the dog was the same breed as his own pet, only with a lighter coat colour.
According to the Riverside County Animal Services website, he said: "It's probably one of the worst things I've seen. I've never seen something like this."
Agent Pina transported the 78-year-old man to an Indio field office and interviewed him. The man said that the family didn't want the dog and didn't know what to do with him.
After an extensive interview, Agent Pina said that he could not pursue an animal cruelty case because the man appeared to be confused, or senile, and didn't fully understand what he had done. He held the man until his family members arrived.
The dog was picked up by a Riverside County Animal Services officer and taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
Veterinary Technician Jo Marie Upegui examined the dog, treated him, gave him a bath, and took him home to give him extra care. She said he appears very healthy and friendly.
Jo and her colleagues nicknamed the dog "Banjo," a reference to old traffic signals still seen on various rail lines.
The dog is immediately available for adoption – but a special application process will take place.
Interested adopters can e-mail email@example.com and share why their family would be best for Banjo.
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