Recovery work underway for dog hit by train as shelter hopes for ‘foster fails’


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) is calling for a holiday miracle after a dog was hit by a train Wednesday night.

As caretakers work on the animal’s recovery, the shelter is hoping to find homes for its current cats and dogs this holiday season.

“We are asking for donations through our RACC Foundation, which is our medical fund. Unfortunately, our city budget doesn’t cover emergency expenses like this,” Caitlin Stallings with the shelter told 8News. “It’s very important for us to make sure we have the space for all animals in need in the city, and how we do that is by relying on our foster programs.”

One such animal with an emergency need came to animal control workers Wednesday night after representatives with RACC said he was hit by a train on the tracks at Jahnke Road and Forest Hill Avenue.

Stallings said that the call for assistance for the animal came in around 6 p.m.

“Animal Control Officer Leech was dispatched out to the call, immediately took him to our emergency clinic, which is Virginia Veterinary Centers, for treatment,” she said. “We are amazed he’s even alive after being hit by a train. All four of his legs are mangled. But we are going to try and save him.”

RACC has affectionately named the dog Charlie. Stallings said that the report of his incident noted that he was found without identification.

“Domesticated animals, making sure we’re containing them, leaving identification on them,” she said. “We could’ve notified an owner immediately about what was going on and assisted them with this situation.”

As of Thursday afternoon, RACC Director Christie Chipps-Peters told 8News that Charlie was stable and doing better than expected. She said that at least three of his legs were bandaged and on the road to recovery. But there were concerns about his fourth leg, which would be discussed with an orthopedic surgeon.

“I know they’re doing everything they can to keep him stable, and hopefully, recover and be adopted into a loving home,” Stallings said.

She noted that is ultimately RACC’s goal with every animal that comes into the shelter’s care. That’s why animal control workers have been trying to clear the shelter this holiday season.

“Our Thanksgiving and Christmas foster programs have been massive successes,” Stallings said. “Of course, we always hope for a foster fail, which is when they intend on just fostering, and then they end up keeping them forever, which we love. But if they do come back, we know more about them and we’re better equipped to find them the right home.”

Through its foster programs, Stallings said 50 cats and dogs went out to be fostered, and just 19 have returned, while the others were adopted permanently.

“For the holidays, it’s a celebratory time. A lot of people, obviously, have time off work and school. So it’s the perfect time to bring a pet into your home,” she said. “We find that, around the holidays, we see an increase in people who want to help, and have the time and ability to do so.”

Being the City of Richmond’s only open-admission public animal shelter, Stallings also said that RACC must be equipped for whatever animal might come to the shelter with emergency needs.

“[It’s] always needing to be on top of things and making space for more animals that are inevitably going to come into our care, whether they be sick, injured, stray, aggressive,” she said. “We just need to have space for them here, as the city shelter.”

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