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Tethered bulldog dies in fall from bed of pickup truck

By MARY BROWNFIELD

Published: July 6, 2007

A BULLDOG mix named Duke died June 30 when he strangled on the chain tethering him to the bed of a parked truck, and now the dog’s owner, 26-year-old Trafton Chandler, could face criminal charges, according to Carmel Police Sgt. Mel Mukai.

Officer Joe Boucher found Duke hanging by the side of the truck during routine patrol just after 2 a.m.

“The officer driving by noticed a figure against the vehicle, and it turned out to be the dog,” Mukai said.

“It appeared the dog fell off the side and was unable to gain its feet. The dog is deceased as of a result of the incident,” Boucher wrote in the daily call log after locating Chandler and advising him of Duke’s death.

Mukai said Chandler had been living in Carmel Valley but is currently “in transition” and was staying at a friend’s house on Santa Fe Street that night.

“He traveled with the dog quite often, and on that night, he had decided to leave the dog in the back of the truck,” he said. “There were no problems in the past with the dog being tethered in the vehicle. He thought everything would be fine, but obviously it wasn’t.”

The police department plans to submit the case to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution. The California Vehicle Code requires dogs in truck beds to be leashed or confined in a way that will prevent them from falling over the side, and a Health and Safety Code section that took effect in January prohibits tethering a dog for more than three hours in any 24-hour period.

“We’ll find out if charges should be filed,” Mukai said.