Highway Plunge Pit Bull Owner Says Dog Went Missing

The owner of a pit bull who survived a 25-foot plunge from a New York City highway has stepped forward, according to a veterinary office caring for the injured pooch.

The concerned bystanders who found the dog called him Meeker because he was found, crying and struggling to stand, on Meeker Avenue under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Greenpoint.

But veterinary staff at Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group in Cobble Hill say the dog is actually named Wookie and that his owner reported the dog missing this week to the city's lost and found pet program, which contacted the animal hospital.

The man identifying himself as the dog's owner, Oliver Rivera, told the animal hospital the dog somehow slipped his collar and ran away earlier this week. It's unclear how he wound up on the expressway, or how he happened to fall. 

A woman who was riding in a taxi on the BQE the day the dog fell told NBC 4 New York she saw the animal running very quickly, and that it appeared to leap over the partition. She said the animal appeared agitated and nervous. 

"He just took a running leap and flew right over the edge of the highway, and he was gone," said Sarah Hart, who first spoke to the Gothamist about what she saw. 

Hart said she wanted people to know that no one threw the dog off the expressway.

"While I'm sure there's much animal abuse and that's very sad, that's not what happened here," she said. 

Veterinarian Dr. Brett Levitzke said the dog was probably physically capable of jumping on his own, especially if he was agitated by all the cars on the BQE.

"They're very athletic dogs," he said. 

The dog suffered no broken bones but was treated for a collapsed lung. Doctors said Friday he won't need surgery after all, and is fit enough to go home as soon as this weekend. 

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