MARYLAND – For the past 16 years, Sarah Ruckelhaus thought the gated entrance to her 11-acre Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue farm was enough to keep anyone from coming down her driveway and leaving the gate open to the busy roadway.
That is, until last Thursday, when she says a Fed-Ex delivery driver reportedly opened the gate, and kept it open as he drove up her driveway to make a delivery.
"I started to gather up the rescue dogs to put them in their crates and only two came and there were four out," says Ruckelhaus. "As I'm processing this I realize two of the dogs haven't come, they're not coming, they're not responding to my calls as they always do. I jump in my car and try to figure out which way to go where to start looking, and I saw them dead on the road."
47 ABC reached out to FedEx about the incident. They e-mailed a statement, saying, "We recognize how dear our pets are to us and FedEx Ground takes these matters very seriously. FedEx is currently investigating this incident and we are working with the family during this difficult time."
Ruckelhaus says Scot and Yogi, both 15-month old rescue border collies, were apparently hit and killed instantly. By the time she got to the dogs, whoever hit them was reportedly long gone.
"You don't want to know what went through my mind, I was thinking bad thoughts, I was upset, I was sad, I was angry," says Ruckelhaus. "They were young, they were babies, they were like teenage boys you know, they had their whole lives ahead of them and now they don't."
Now, she's sharing her story, to prevent something like this from happening to anyone who has pets in their home.
"You think that you are safe, you think that the animals in your care are not going to go out on the road. People do things without a thought of what the consequences are," says Ruckelhaus. "Those dogs cannot be brought back but people can be educated. People need to understand that because they fence their animals in does not mean that they are protected."
Since the incident, Ruckelhaus says she was shocked to get phone calls and e-mails about people who have had similar tragedies.
"The meter reader or the delivery man or whoever has gone into their yard left the gate open," says Ruckelhaus. "There's all sorts of stories out there that are sort of disconcerting. It could have been worse, I know that sounds crazy but somebody could have wrecked their car trying to avoid them."
Ruckelhaus says she decided to put a sign on the fence; something she has contemplated for years but was worried would not look welcoming. In the meantime, she has tried to get back into the routine of letting her dogs out, but it has not been easy.
"I hesitate every time," she says. "I have to stay close, I feel like I have to."
Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:36 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:36:15 GMT
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