A Long Island woman is heartbroken after her emotional support dog was killed after she said a driver inexplicably veered toward them, striking the pup, and then drove off without offering to help.
Mildred Perez said she was walking her dog, Romeo, just after 11 p.m. on April 23 on the street where she lives in Selden. Perez said a dark SUV was driving along the road when it suddenly turned and without slowing down hit the beloved toy poodle, an emotional support animal that she's had for seven years.
"I'm very bad, I don't know. I'm not happy for seven days," Perez said.
The driver drove away after striking Romeo, Perez said, but made a U-turn to see what happened. Perez and the driver then exchanged words, with Perez telling NBC New York she tried to grab the driver through the window to stop her.
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"They told me, 'I'm sorry, I'm calling the police,' or whatever," Perez said. The woman then left, without saying anything else to Perez. She scooped the dog up and put him in her shirt, driving him to the police station.
Police are now looking for the driver, a blonde-haired woman in her 30s, releasing a sketch in hopes of finding her. Perez said she hopes the media attention will lead police to the woman responsible.
"There's going to be no restitution for this, let's be honest. You can't replace Romeo," said neighbor Debbie Inga, who was crushed to hear how the tiny, 8-pound dog died. Inga said the street has very few street lights and can be very dark at night, but she still thinks the driver should turn herself in to police.
"At least come forward, because what does that say about the person who hit the dog?" she asked.
According to police, even if the driver is found, she would likely only be given a violation — nothing that would amount to serious criminal charges.