Street sweeper sucks up dog

June 13, 2008 4:37:41 PM PDT
A family dog was killed by a New York City street sweeper in a tragic accident. The dog, a Boston terrier named Ginger, was on a leash when she was sucked into the sweeper. Witnesses say the driver was speeding.

Eyewitness News reporter Thalia Patillo has more from the Soundview section of the Bronx.

The dog's owner says it all happened so fast. He says one minute he was loading his two dogs into the back of his truck. The next minute, a street sweeper coming down the street swallowed up his little Ginger.

"It happened so fast," Robert Machin said. "As I seen the dog, I tried to pull her back. But the machine had her."

It is a pet owner's worst nightmares, Machin said, after the street sweeper pulled the leash right out of his hand and, in the end, killing her.

"It swallowed her right up into the mechanism of the truck," Machin said. "And we started yelling at the driver, evidently he couldn't hear us."

Machin says it all happened as he was loading his two terriers, Buster and Ginger, into his parked car.

He says he chased the driver for two and a half blocks. His friend, Efrain Hernandez, witnessed the entire thing.

"It was something awful to see, a little animal like that to get sucked up into the machine," he said.

The Department of Sanitation offered the family its condolences, and in a statement, said it "was a rare and unfortunate accident...It is important for all New Yorkers to remember to maintain the safety of their animals while walking city streets."

Machin maintains it was the driver who was at fault, and says he could've saved little Ginger if he only stopped.

"I'm sad," Machin said. "I'm angry because the driver of the vehicle lied to me. He could've shut the machinery down at one point, and he didn't."

Machin says the driver insisted on driving two and a half blocks back to the scene before he finally turned off the machine.