VIDEO: Witnesses sought as '˜miracle dog' survives hit-and-run

The owner of a '˜miracle dog' that was almost killed in a hit-and-run incident wants the culprit to apologise.

Tuesday, 18th April 2017, 5:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:54 pm
Rueben the spaniel with owners Matt and Stacie Lillywhite and their children Finley and Harrison. Picture: Derek Martin

Rueben, a two-year-old spaniel, was run over by what police described as a pharmacy delivery van outside the family home in Willow Crescent, Worthing on Friday, March 31 at around 11am. The driver did not stop or report the hit-and-run to the police, which is illegal.

Owner Stacie Lillywhite said: “They nearly tore this family apart. It was devastating. It has really shaken me and the dog up. Thank God it was a happy ending, but it might not have been.

The 29-year-old opened the front door to sign for a parcel, and accidentally left the door open behind her.

Rueben the spaniel with owners Matt and Stacie Lillywhite and their children Finley and Harrison. Picture: Derek Martin

Rueben, which Stacie described as ‘excitable’, ran out to greet the delivery man and became startled, running into the road.

Stacie and the delivery man tried to stop Rueben but it was too late, as the dog was run over by a passing van.

She said: “I watched the car go over his body, front tyre and back tyre, and I heard the noise, the thuds, as it went over him.

“I thought: ‘How could you not know you have done that?’ You would know if you had done that to a toddler.”

Rueben the spaniel after the hit and run incident

A distressed Stacie called her husband Matthew and she took their beloved pet to Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital in Upper Brighton Road, Worthing.

Initially vets were not sure if Rueben would make it through the night, but he left them ‘gobsmacked’ by responding to treatment, Stacie said, describing her pet as a ‘miracle dog’.

Miraculously, Rueben walked away with no broken bones and only some minor bleeding and a few tyre marks and is recovering at home.

Stacie said her two sons Finley, eight, and Harrison, six, were ‘absolutely chuffed’ at being reunited with Rueben, after their parents told them they may not see their friend again.

Rueben the spaniel after the hit and run incident

The Northbrook College student reported the incident to the police. According to Stacie, the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that if a driver hits a dog they must report it to the police.

A Sussex Police spokesman said witnesses can report online at https://sussex.police.uk/contact-us/response-to-appeal/ or call 101 quoting ‘crackdown’ and reference 335602.

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Rueben the spaniel is recovering after the hit-and-run incident

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Rueben the spaniel with owners Matt and Stacie Lillywhite and their children Finley and Harrison. Picture: Derek Martin

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Rueben the spaniel after the hit and run incident
Rueben the spaniel after the hit and run incident
Rueben the spaniel is recovering after the hit-and-run incident