Family demands answers after postal driver appears to run over their dog in video

Ring camera footage from a Walterboro home appears to show a dog being run over by a U.S. Postal Service driver who did not stop or slow down.
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 2:23 AM EDT
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WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - A South Carolina family’s dog may need his leg amputated after his owners say Ring camera footage shows him being run over by a U.S. Postal Service driver.

The Gouge family’s dog, Yogi, was allegedly run over by a postal service driver after he ran out into the road outside the family’s Walterboro home. Paula Gouge told WCSC the driver did not stop or slow down as she left.

“She’s been delivering our mail for over a year,” Gouge said. “She knows my dogs. She’s pet my dogs before. And I don’t know if she might have given him treats in the past, and he was running for a treat.”

While Yogi survived the incident, he is awaiting surgery that could result in his leg being amputated. If not, the BluePearl Pet Hospital in Summerville says because of his poor quality of life, he might have to be euthanized.

The pet hospital says Yogi suffers from a dislocated hip, broken femur and lower spine and internal injuries.

“He’s only 8 and a half years old,” Gouge said. “He’s not done. I just pray that he can get better and be a miracle dog and run around on three legs.”

Yogi’s family has been in contact with Officer Suzi Reeves with Colleton County Animal Services, who is handling the case.

“Officer Reeves told me that we did nothing wrong,” Gouge said. “We did not break any laws. We do not have to keep him on a leash.”

Reeves says the driver has been identified and will face at least two citations under the proper care of animals under the Colleton County Code of Ordinances. She says she claims she didn’t know she hit the dog.

Matthew Breen, managing partner of Lowcountry Law, LLC, says the family can decide to sue this driver for negligence, and depending on what the solicitor decides, the driver could face charges as high as a hit-and-run.

“Yes, they might have needed to restrain their animal,” Breen said. “But at the same time, that doesn’t give us an excuse: ‘Well, that dog doesn’t have its leash on, and it’s outside the road. I can just run it over and kill it.’”

He says it’s important for pet owners to be diligent.

“You want to make sure that you protected your pet to the greatest extent that you could, and if they’re injured, that you can recover civilly against the wrongdoer who injured your pet,” Breen said.

The Walterboro Postal Service declined to make a comment because the case is under investigation. The postal service Southern Area Corporate Communications says they’re still reviewing the video and gathering additional details about the incident.