On July 28, 2011, a horrified driver witnessed Cecilia Bojorquez’s cocker spaniel jump off the back of her pickup truck while she drove more than 50 mph down 45th Street in Lancaster, California. The dog was tied with a rope around its neck while being dragged behind the moving truck. Off-duty Animal Control Officer Derek Ames honked his horn and flashed his headlights but it wasn’t until two miles later that Bojorquez finally stopped.
According to Ames, the three-year-old brown cocker spaniel named Marley had severe injuries to her paws, legs, and belly. Bojorquez was eventually met by Lancaster sheriff’s deputies and arrested while Marley was taken to High Desert Animal Care Hospital in Palmdale. Marley’s injuries were so severe that she was “humanely euthanized.” According to Hospital Director Marcia Mayeda, this incident was one of the, “more agonizing animal cruelty and neglect cases in recent memory.”
Bojorquez plead guilty to felony animal cruelty charges and was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, 45 days community service, and $300 in fines and court costs. Authorities say Marley’s death could have been prevented if she was allowed to ride inside the truck. It is illegal in many states, including California, to transport a dog in an open-bed truck unless certain measures have been taken.
No person driving a motor vehicle shall transport any animal in the back of the vehicle in a space intended for any load on the vehicle on a highway unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor, the vehicle has installed means of preventing the animal from being discharged, or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle, or is protected by a secured container or cage, in a manner which will prevent the animal from being thrown, falling, or jumping from the vehicle.