A Macon police drug dog was struck by an SUV on Sunday night in a hit-and-run accident on Riverside Drive.
The dog sustained a serious leg injury and was taken to the Animal Emergency Clinic on Mercer University Drive, police said.
Police Chief Mike Burns said Keelo and his handler, officer Ryan Willis, were off duty at the time the dog was injured.
Willis had Keelo in the backyard and the dog ran, apparently following something he smelled, Burns said.
Keelo will need surgery, but he is expected to recover, the chief said.
Jason Todd, of an English Avenue address, said he saw the accident while headed south on Riverside Drive about 8:30 p.m. Sunday after meeting friends at Starbucks on Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard.
He was driving behind a dark gray or charcoal sport utility vehicle when he saw the dog come up from underneath the SUV, according to a police report.
“I saw legs and fur fly past my car,” Todd said. “When it came out from underneath the SUV, it was airborne.”
The SUV didn’t stop at the scene, located near the Park Community Bank. Instead, it kept driving down Riverside Drive.
Todd said he turned around and stopped to check on the dog, blocking traffic with his car.
“He was standing up and looked pretty dazed,” Todd said of the dog. His mouth was bloody and his eye appeared damaged.
Although the dog seemed to have a hip injury, Todd was able to take it by the collar and lead it to the side of the road. Within a couple of minutes, police cars started arriving.
The officers said they’d been looking for the dog for about an hour, Todd said.
It wasn’t until the officers arrived that he realized he’d rescued a police dog.
He said his heart went out to the dog in part because his parents raised white German shepherds.
“I was just thinking it was probably in pain,” Todd said.
Burns said officers haven’t been able to locate the car that hit Keelo.
Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call the police at 751-7500 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.