Authorities believe a 78-year-old man thought to have tied a puppy to train tracks in Riverside County last week may have been "senile" and "didn't fully understand what he had done," officials said Tuesday.
A train engineer noticed a man walking away from something left on the Mecca-area tracks about 5 p.m. on April 2, Riverside County Animal Services said in a statement Tuesday. That something was a live, 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix.
The engineer used the train's emergency brakes to stop and avoided hitting the puppy, officials said. A Union Pacific agent arrived, arrested the man and freed the dog.
"It's probably one of the worst things I've ever seen," Agent Sal Pina said in a statement. "I've never seen something like this."