Ambulance strikes dog; strangers rescue animal

Todd Lynch posted this photo of his dog on Craigslist when he went missing.

Todd Lynch wants some answers about how his dog was hit by an ambulance on James Island and why the driver didn’t stop or send for help.

Charleston County EMS Director Don Lundy said the ambulance was transporting a critically sick patient and protocol keeps them from stopping.

The ambulance hit Lynch’s 3-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback at around 5:30 a.m. Monday on Folly Road near the connector.

The dog, Spencer, is being treated at a James Island animal hospital.

“I feel terrible for that,” Lundy said. “But my first priority is for the safety of humans.”

Lundy said if the ambulance had swerved, it could have risked the lives of the paramedics and the already critically ill patient.

“Our hearts jump in front of us for animals. But my fear is the ambulance would have rolled,” he said. “They could have flipped the ambulance, which would have been a tragic situation.”

Evaline Delson was headed to work when she saw the ambulance hit the dog. At first, she wasn’t sure what they hit but saw the ambulance brake lights flash.

“I’ve never heard a howl or moan like that in my life,” she said.

Delson realized it was a dog and watched the ambulance to see if it would stop. The driver slowed down but then continued on, she said.

Delson said she hadn’t seen a patient in the back, which is why she was so outraged when the ambulance didn’t stop.

“If there was a patient in the back, by all means, obviously get the patient to the hospital. I totally get it,” she said.

But Delson thinks they should have called for help. Lundy confirmed that the driver did not call another agency, such as law enforcement, to come help the animal after striking it. But the supervisor talked to the driver about that and informed him in the future to call for help if he couldn’t stop.

“He was focused on the patient, which is what they’re supposed to do,” Lundy said.

Delson said she didn’t stop either because she didn’t know what to do, so she had her sister, Phillis Kalisky-Mair, report it to animal control.

Kalisky-Mair said animal control couldn’t find the dog after searching the area, so she took to social media.

She posted the information about the dog on Facebook. Later someone found the dog and reported it to Charleston County animal control, who sent a representative to retrieve the dog and dropped it off at the Charleston Animal Society.

They found the dog’s owner, Lynch, through a Craigslist ad he’d posted after Spencer had gone missing Sunday night from his James Island home.

Kalisky said thanks to the community outreach, Lynch and Spencer were reunited and Lynch took his dog to an animal hospital.

“It was total grass roots using Facebook and social media to help find this dog and the owner and it actually worked,” Kalisky-Mair said. “There’s lots of people that care.”

Lynch said he’s grateful that strangers would go to such lengths to help his dog. Spencer is already starting to heal and on Tuesday afternoon was almost in stable condition, Lynch said.

“He got up on all four legs today,” he said.

*In earlier versions of the story, it incorrectly stated who dropped the dog off with the animal society. Charleston County Animal Control retrieved the dog and transported it to the Charleston Animal Society.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or