Mike Heredia was probably hoping to have a pleasant — if uneventful — afternoon last Sunday at the dog park with his three dogs. Instead, the Claremont, California, man ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder and severe road rash after his 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel was stolen right in front of him.
According to ABC7, Heredia’s elderly dog Otis was walking off-leash behind him when a man grabbed the dog by his back legs and threw him into a nearby car.
Heredia did what any dog owner would’ve done in that situation: He put up a fight. He grabbed the window of the car as it sped off and tried to hang on, all while the dog thief punched him in the head.
“When he slammed the door I knew what was happening, so I jumped in the window and the girl who was driving, she just punched it,” he told ABC7. “We start going up the street, the guy socking me in the face as we’re driving.”
He was dragged more than half a block before he had to let go, collapsing to the pavement as Otis’ captors disappeared out of sight. The 50-year-old was taken for medical treatment for his shoulder and for road rash on his foot that he said “almost went down to the bone.”
But seemingly just as the Claremont Police Department started its investigation, Heredia — and the officers —got some good news. Less than two days after being stolen, Otis was returned to his owner. The suspects reportedly dropped the dog back at the dog park and, other than being thirsty, appeared to be unharmed.