12-year-old seeks stricter penalties after dog’s death in hit-and-run

Crime Watch 8

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kyel Morouney, 12, says his dog, Jackson, was an emotional support and service dog in training to help with anxiety.

“He would always cheer me up. I would take him out to go to the bathroom. He was supercute because he looked like a little fox,” Morouney said.

Kyel’s mother, Kerry Morouney, said Jackson was not on a leash and was with their neighbor May 11. He got out of a neighbor’s backyard. Jackson ran onto Thompson Street toward State Road 135 when someone hit him and drove off.

“When it first happened I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up all night long crying,” Kyel said. “When I was informed that it happened I fainted immediately as soon as I was told that it happened.”

An eyewitness told News 8 that she saw the dog lying on the ground and took him to a veterinarian clinic, where the dog later died. Kyel and his mother started an online petition seeking stricter punishments for animal hit-and-runs.

“You leave someone’s beloved pet on the side of the road without helping or stopping and just leave them. I don’t get how someone could do that,” Kyel said.

Hannah Fisher, the president of the Hoosier Animal Law Officers, said animals are considered property and a driver can be charged with property damage, according to state law. The group, also known by the acronym HALO, thinks it’s possible drivers can face animal cruelty charges and receive stricter punishments.

Fisher said, “In order to get an animal cruelty conviction or animal cruelty charge for something of that nature, you have to be able to prove that the driver of the vehicle intentionally ran over the animal, intentionally trying to cause it harm.”

The Morouneys said they want to continue holding drivers involved in animal hit-and-runs responsible. They also wish they’d kept a closer eye on Jackson. They don’t want other dog owners to make the same mistake.

“Just keep an eye out on them as much as you can and make sure they’re never off a leash even in somebody else’s house at this point because that could’ve prevented this from happening,” Kerry said.

The family said they plan to get more signatures on the petition and present it to state officials and the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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