UPDATE: According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's report, the dog owner told deputies the accident was his dog’s fault. See incident report below.
I spoke with Robert Ossander who is Laia's owner. Robert stated he was walking against traffic at the curve, when bus 1702 came towards him and his dog began to bark. The dog was a 7 year old female German Shepherd who was on a leash and collar. The dog lunged out as the bus was passing and was ran over by the rear tires. He stated it was the dogs fault.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Bobby Ossander said a school bus driver killed his dog Laya Monday evening. He said the driver was driving too fast for the curve on Edgemere Street, and almost hit him, too. But, Charlotte County Schools said it isn’t the driver’s fault. They said the dog broke off from her leash and ran in front of the bus.
Ossander said he was walking Laia near Meadow Park Elementary School around 5:00 p.m. Monday like he does everyday before the driver killed her.
His neighbor Nate Redfield said Laia was like the neighborhood dog.
“She always looked healthy, always looked happy. The kids loved her, everyone loved her around the neighborhood,” said Redfield. “She was a respected dog.”
He added the bus driver stopped at a nearby bus stop to let kids off the bus and called Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, but didn’t come back to apologize to Ossander.
“It was like no sympathy shown for what she had done to him - at least that she didn’t acknowledge to him,” he said.
But Mike Riley with Charlotte County Schools said that bus driver did the right thing by calling CCSO, who later concluded she wasn’t at fault.
“The dog broke loose from its owner with his leash on, ran out in front of the bus. She hit the dog,” said Riley.
But, Redfield who rushed out to help Ossander pick up his dog, said that’s not what happened at all.
“The dog did not break away from the leash, in fact you can see before we took it off, I took a picture of it as well. her leash got broken from getting hit,” he said. “He was holding her on the leash. She got hit and the leash snapped off.”
He said he doesn’t want the driver to lose her job or anything like that, but will fight to protect the kids and dogs in the area from another tragedy like this.
“I feel like there should be a street sign or something to prevent things like this from happening,” he said.
He said putting a sign on Edgemere like the one for the curve on the other side of Meadow Park Elementary could help. He plans to start a petition to get speed limits signs on that street.