Blame game: Behind a hit-and-run involving students, a vehicle and a dog

January 8, 2019 - 7:55 PM
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CCTV footage of students
A group of students passed by a house in Quezon City and got chased by a dog which eventually resulted in a tragic hit-and-run accident. (Facebook/Chrishna Lingad)

When a college student who was running away from a dog got hit by a car and a video of it went viral on social media, a blame game ensued.

20-year-old Joshua Cabag reportedly went out with his friends to buy food in celebration of his birthday on January 4, 2019.

A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage revealed that the group passed by a house in Sto. Nino Street at 1:57 a.m. in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.

The group pointed at something and a dog emerged from the direction of the house. Shortly after, they ran which prompted the dog to chase them.

When the students reached the corner of the street which had access to a two-lane road, Cabag was hit by a passing vehicle.

The dog retreated while Cabag’s friends approached him as he lay still on the road. The vehicle, meanwhile, did not stop and continued to speed away.

Cabag was rushed to the hospital but he eventually lost his life.

The incident prompted Filipinos to debate whether the accident was caused by the students, the driver or the dog.

Driver’s accountability 

Some social media users noted that the driver should be held accountable since it was his vehicle that hit the student.

A Facebook user said that the vehicle appeared to be running fast in a residential area. He also remarked that the driver should’ve shifted to a lower gear or slowed down upon approaching the corner.

“I-consider mo lagi na may makakasalubong ka ‘pag ganyan. Buhay pa sana kung hindi ganun kabilis takbo mo,” the user commented.

Another one wrote, “Ang alam ko kasi ‘pag may daanang pakaliwa o pakanan, kahit maluwag ang kalsada, dapat mabagal ang takbo mo.”

It’s not known whether the two-lane road is one-way or not, but it could be observed that the vehicle was on the lane farther from the corner where the group emerged. However, it did not stop when it came into contact with the student.

Defensive driving cautions drivers to slow down and look both ways when approaching an intersection or a corner even if it is initially empty, particularly at night when vision is limited.

This is to avoid possible collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians who might emerge on the road.

Dog owner’s responsibility

There were others who claimed that the dog owner—if there was one—should be the one held responsible for the incident because the dog was without a leash.

A Facebook user pointed out, “Bakit hindi nakatali ang aso?”

A military dog of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

If the dog was held by a leash, it couldn’t have chased the group in the first place, as claimed by another user.

A different user wrote, “Ang tunay na may kasalanan diyan ay ‘yung may-ari ng aso. Matagal nang pinagbabawal ‘yang pagpapagala ng aso.” 

Under Republic Act 9482 or the “Anti-Rabies Act of 2007,” pet owners are required to “maintain control over their dog and not allow it to roam the streets or any public place without a leash.”

Violators of the provision shall pay P500 for each incident.

Students’ interaction with the dog

While others blamed the driver of the vehicle or the dog’s supposed owner, there were Filipinos who felt that the group should not have interacted with the dog in the first place.

A Facebook user commented, “Bakit naman kasi ginulat ‘yung asong nananahimik.”

Another user noted that it was unnecessary for the group to interact with the dog, to which they are not acquainted, because the animal is known to display aggression when it perceives that it is in danger.

A dog-centered website shared that dogs have the tendency to react aggressively when it is around strangers since it is their way to protect themselves or their territory. Others are simply anxious or fearful of strangers.

“These dogs perceive the stranger as a danger to themselves, or you, and are attempting to defend themselves by lashing out and attacking the source of their fear, a stranger,” the website said.