Monday, May 30, 2016

California: Chris Iles ran over two dogs being walked by their owner and fled as the animals died

CALIFORNIA --  A Los Gatos dog walker who gained Internet fame for portraits of perfectly posed canines has been arrested on suspicion of running over two Labradors last week and fleeing the scene, authorities said.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said Christopher James Iles, 44, of Los Gatos, was driving a Ford pickup truck that hit the animals as they were being walked by their owner on Dagmar Drive at Holiday Court around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Labradors, named Sadie and Chudley, were pulled under the truck, and their owner, a Saratoga woman, was knocked to the ground as a result, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Both animals had to be euthanized because of the severity of their injuries.

Investigators received a tip about a potential location of the truck and its owner, which led them to a residence in Los Gatos. They spotted the vehicle Saturday morning, pulled it over and arrested Iles, the Sheriff’s Office said. He is currently out of custody.

Anne Palmer of Saratoga was walking her two Labradors, Sadie and Chudley, Wednesday when a Ford truck came around a corner and hit the pups, pulling them under the vehicle and causing Palmer, who was holding onto their leashes, to fall to the ground.

Though Palmer had only moderate injuries, Sadie and Chudley were badly hurt and had to be euthanized at a veterinary hospital, officials said.

The driver fled the scene near Dagmar Drive and Holiday Court. The vehicle was described as a newer model Ford with a long bed and camper shell, crew cab and large tires. A security camera in the neighborhood caught images of the truck.

Searching for a Suspect

Luckily, a nearby security camera caught footage of the truck, but not the license plate.

For 3 days, investigators hit the streets and pleaded with the public for help, posting fliers and even using road signs to search for the truck. With the public’s help, investigators located Iles, and he was arrested Saturday night.

Anne Palmer’s neighbor told reporters: “I don’t know how that man who did it…was able to sleep at night.”

Iles has been featured in articles on several websites, most of which are related to dog-walking, but also had a photo array that appeared on BuzzFeed of leashed dogs in proper poses looking at the camera.

Social-media pages of Iles’ dog-walking business — he also describes himself as specializing in “dog socialization” — have been taken offline.

Attempts to reach Iles on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Anyone with information about the Friday hit-and-run can contact 408-299-2311.

Iles was once featured in a post on BuzzFeed for taking cute posed snapshots of dogs and inventing the WalkPro leash, a leash that has an attached pouch for walkers to store scooped poop and other items.

“It carries your full and empty poop sacs and has a stretchy sac that holds your mobile device, wallet [and keys],” Iles explained.

When asked how he managed to pose the dogs so well, Iles said: “I have a natural connection to dogs and it comes [naturally] working with them. I work with each dog, and it takes patience and understanding.… I cry from happiness and have amazing moments with my pack. They are all so very happy.”

(East Bay Times - May 29, 2016)