Troopers investigate after guide dog struck, killed in hit-and-run

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) — A legally blind Florida man said he was walking to a bus stop with his guide dog, when all of a sudden, a car struck and killed his precious pet.

“I heard a car coming fast,” explained Ray Mahlberg.  “I felt her turn to look behind me, and all of a sudden, ‘boom!'”

His six-year-year-old dog, Pearl, was dead.

Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol said surveillance video shows the Mahlberg and Pearl on the west shoulder of Harrell Road in East Orange County.  It appeared the dog ran towards the road before it was hit by a silver car, which took off after striking the dog.

When asked if he thought Pearl was protecting him from the car, Mahlberg, replied, “Of course that’s what she did!”

Mahlberg, a Navy Veteran, thought they both had enough room to walk on the street, as they did everyday.

“We were able to go any place in town. I was able to go shopping, and I was independent of course.”

It breaks his heart to lose her.

“She was so close to retirement, but it didn’t get that far, because of a few seconds of not paying attention,” he said,”and now, I know this sounds horrible, but I worry about how am I going to get food, how am I going to get to the grocery store or do anything.”

Troopers want to question the driver.

“If an accident happens, look it happens. Stop!”

Now, as Mahlberg is searching for a new job as a customer care representative over the phone, he will also be looking for a new guide dog.

“She was my best friend,” he added.  “It’s just going to take time to put my life back together again.”

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol.

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