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Dog missing after I-96 rollover

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - Knowing animals as he does, Coopersville veterinarian Dr. Ira Engeltjes says he understands why his dog ran away when the truck they were in rolled and crashed on I-96.

"Because she was scared out of her mind," he says

His 8 year old golden retriever Emmy was the only passenger when Dr. Ira lost control of his truck on I-96 near the Marne exit.

He says the truck swerved and he couldn't bring it back.

"I'm talking to the dog the whole time," he says. "'Hang on Emmy, we are going into the ditch'. Not only did we go into the ditch, but we rolled at least once."

Nearly blind because of blood flowing into his eyes from a head wound, Dr. Ira says he managed to squeeze out of his wrecked vehicle.

"When I got out and onto the shoulder they asked me if I was the only person in there.  I said, 'Yes, but my dog is in there'.
I was way more concerned with my dog than me."

Coopersville veterinarian encourages dog owners to buy pet harnesses for cars

Coopersville veterinarian encourages dog owners to buy pet harnesses for cars

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's not the law, but some dog owners are using pet seat belts to keep their animals safe when riding in a vehicle.

The harnesses come in a variety of sizes, are available at many stores, and attach to the seat belt installed in the car.

Coopersville veterinarian Amy Bennett says she started using a dog seat belt after seeing so many pets injured in crashes.

"In the course of a week, we had two dogs that had been in automobile accidents with their owners and one wound up breaking its neck," says Dr. Bennett. "The other one broke its back and, as a result, they were both euthanized.

"I thought I don't want that to be my dog. My dog is part of my family, so we got this little harness."

Dr. Bennett says the harness not only keeps the dog safe, but also prevents it from moving around and distracting or interfering with the driver.