Long Island family offers reward to find driver who hit their dog

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Friday, February 19, 2021
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A Cold Spring Harbor family is offering a $1,000 reward to find the driver who hit their Black Labrador.

HUNTINGTON, Long Island (WABC) -- A Cold Spring Harbor family is offering a $1,000 reward to find the driver who hit their Black Labrador.

Leia, a 7-year-old 95-pound rescue, is recovering at a local veterinary hospital after being hit in her hind.

She can't walk or urinate on her own.

"We're praying that she pulls through," said Daniel Batista, of Huntington, whose parents own Leia

Leia escaped from the family's home on Turkey Lane Sunday night around 7 p.m. and a car struck her in the middle of the road.

The driver didn't stop.

"Instead, they left her out in the cold to die in the snow," Batista said. "And, that's just, I have no respect for that."

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Leia managed to drag herself up a neighbor's driveway and into some bushes, and neighbors spent 90 minutes looking for her.

"It made me sad to look at her eyes, because she looked so upset," neighbor Louisa Melendez said.

Suffolk County police are investigating the incident. Batista said investigators have located video of the car driving on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor.

Neighbors near Turkey Lane said they are putting together a petition to give to the Town of Huntington requesting more stop signs be added to the road. They said Turkey Lane is a cut-through street, and people often speed there.

"It's always a continued fear that one of our kids is going to be hit or one of the joggers or one of the bikers," Cold Spring Harbor resident Janet Pierce said. "Because they blow through here."

Pierce said 85 homeowners have signed the petition.

"It's a great street to live on, and we hope it's a safe street to live on," neighbor Arden Benvenuti said.

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A spokesperson for the Town of Huntington said the town's traffic safety department is aware of what happened to Leia.

"They plan to collect new data when the weather conditions allow to determine the best course of action," town spokesperson Lauren Lembo said.

Lembo said Turkey Lane is already on the town's schedule to coordinate speed enforcement with the Suffolk County Police Department.

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