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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man is searching for the driver who killed his dog and nearly ran him over too during a Christmas evening walk.

Daryl Staggs says he was walking his dog on watts landing road in Hampstead Christmas night when a driver in a blue truck drove over the center line, hitting, and killing the dog. And Staggs says the truck came within 6 inches of hitting him as well.

“I was walking on the left-hand side of the road, when I heard a vehicle approaching from behind me. I turned to look, and I noticed that truck coming across the center line over toward where I was walking my dog at.”

Daryl Staggs says he quickly stepped backwards into a ditch, hurting his knee, but his dog, at the end of a four-foot leash was hit.

“First thing I do was jump out of the ditch and ran to my dog, and I noticed there was no blood coming out of his mouth or anything, so I thought he might actually live,” Staggs said. “So I picked him up and ran the rest of the way home with him. About the time I got him home, inside the door there, was about the time he looked at me and took his last breath.”

Staggs rescued Ratt two and a half years ago and in that short time he says the ten-pound dog quickly became his best friend.

“I’ve never had any children, so that dog was like the only child I’ve ever had,” Staggs explained. “He was my baby boy. He was like my son.”

Staggs says he immediately called the police. He says a Surf City police officer was the first to arrive.

“He said that there was nothing he could do about it, because it was just a dog. And to me it’s not just a dog. That was the only friend I had really. He was my buddy,” Staggs said.

He says about two hours later Pender County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and also told him there was nothing they could do. But now Staggs says the deputies have no record of ever having responded.

We spoke to Captain Billy Sanders of the Pender County Sheriff’s office who says they did respond but were not able to make a report at the time. He says deputies asked Staggs to call back the next day.

Sanders could not verify whether or not Staggs called back but they did say they would be more than happy to assist him in filing a report.

Staggs says he just wants an apology and an explanation. He asks whoever is responsible to do the right thing, and come forward.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestie

    Methinks Guest7969 doth protest too much.

    I’m starting to wonder if Guest7969 might be the individual who ran over the poor dog and killed it.

  • Guestie

    I have so, so, so very much to say on this subject.

    There’s no way to “keep it brief”.

    First of all, my sympathies to this man whose dog was struck and killed. Three years ago this month, a man was driving down the street, and struck my dog, and could have killed her, and he kept going!!!!! Barely stopped. I ran up to his car and banged on the trunk. He got out of the car long enough to tell me he didn’t speak English, and that “oh, I don’t know” when it was very obvious to him what he did, by the fact that he looked over at my dog and was very embarrassed-looking on his face.

    He got back in his car and just drove off. Never saw his car again. My dog lived, but she could have very easily died.

    All my sympathies go out to you, sir. I know how a dog is very much family. Some people don’t get that because they are cold to animals and small children and thus to society in general.

    I hope you will find this perpetrator and get justice for your pain!!!!! Bless you, sir.

    Now, as to the comments people make in times of pain … in the first place, I will address the “cheer up, it could have been worse” comments people always make at these times. Comments like those are very, very unresponsive to the deep pain someone goes through when they have a very personal and heartbreaking loss.

    Phrases like “I understand how you feel”, or “it could have been worse”, or “you should look on the bright side, at least your dog didn’t spontaneously combust on a hot summer day”, or “well, at least your dog didn’t live long enough for it to get cancer, and you to have to watch it die a slow agonizing death” do very little to address the pain that actually IS … not the pain that COULD have been but is not.

    See what I mean?

    It’s a waste of time to discuss what DIDN’T happen, to avoid addressing what DID happen.

    The dog DID die. But rather than talk about that, we talk about “well, at least your dog wasn’t kidnapped and thrown off a 59-story building, then ran over by a city bus!!!”

    What do those imaginary scenarios matter? Why can’t we just talk about what ACTUALLY happened? Sure, it’s nice that the dog didn’t float out to sea, and get used as fish bait by some 80-tentacle giant squid, only to be caught in an oncoming violent wind, to be sucked down in a maelstrom and then be lost forever in some watery grave, but what does that matter to how the dog actually DID die?

    And as far as the person who hit this dog, hey, lots and lots and lots of people drive around Wilmington like they’re on crack, so why would they care about a little dog?

    They cut you off, and try daily to kill at least 8,379 people from the comfort of their speaker-on-wheels while they’re looking at YouTube and Facebook on their phones. Then they give you the finger after just cutting you off.

    They’re the ones who complain about turn signals.

    Here are the two reasons why they complain.

    1. “You didn’t use a turn signal when turning!!!!!!!!”

    Translate: “I actually had to slow down and not go 928 miles an hour on College Road, and I actually had to put on my brakes, you $#%&$%*$#^, so I’m going to wave my hands at you and give you the death-look as I go by you, because God forbid someone should interfere with me following too closely, as I try to push you out of my path, on my way to the next red light!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    2. “You didn’t use a turn signal when changing lanes!!!!!!”

    Translate: “I’m a jerk, and if you had used your turn signal, I would have sped up to cut you off from passing, and you didn’t give me any notice to be able to cut you off. You know I RULE THIS LANE!!!!!!! Who are you to *DARE* not use your turn signal so I can speed up and administer justice on your sorry butt to prevent you from taking control of this lane away from me!!!!! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?????????????? These roads belong to me!!!! I paid for them!!! Who are you to challenge my Divine Right?????”

    Should it surprise us that people will hit and kill and dog, and flee, when they won’t even give basic road courtesies to human beings?????

    Why are we shocked at a story like this, when people sit there on the side road, and wait til the last possible minute to pull out, and only when it is deadly UNsafe to go, then they pull out in front of you, going when they should have stayed, meanwhile, all the time before that, they stayed when they should have gone into the opening in traffic they actually had.

    I think many many people in Wilmington are calloused, cold-hearted people who would rather make it first to McDonald’s for their ice coffee frappalappacremamochalattiattoccino than think about their fellow human beings.

    It’s no surprise to me that someone hit and killed this poor man’s dog and then took off.

    Why is it no surprise? Because everyday they cut YOU off and push YOU off the road and take YOUR spot in the lane and make YOU miss your turn … and then take off.

    So why would these cold-blooded jerks care about a little ten-pound dog, when they would gladly kill PEOPLE to get it?

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