<p>Tate Mitchell watched as a Labrador Retriever mix was dumped out of a black sports utility vehicle Tuesday evening on Seventh Street near Montana Avenue. Mitchell raced up the street on his bicycle to retrieve the dog but was unable to stop the car.</p>
Staff Writer | June 10, 2010 9:00 PM
COEUR d'ALENE - As Tate Mitchell jogged slowly across the grass Wednesday at Phippeny Park on Seventh Street, a yellow dog kept perfect pace at his side.
The animal cocked its head every few seconds as it trotted, glancing up at the man holding its new red leash.
"She won't leave my side," Mitchell said.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Mitchell had never laid eyes on the dog.
His first glimpse of the animal came on Tuesday evening, when he witnessed it being thrown from a vehicle stopped on Seventh Street.
The 32-year-old Coeur d'Alene man was riding his bicycle home from a friend's house at the time. From about a block away, he watched an "expensive SUV, like a Lexus with black-tinted windows" speed off, leaving the dog behind.
"She chased that car all the way up Seventh, from the park up to Harrison," Mitchell said.
He followed the dog quickly on his bicycle, and then brought it home. Because his eyes were on the animal, he didn't get the vehicle's license plate number.
"I was so mad last night. There's no reason for that kind of cruelty," Mitchell said. "All they would have had to do is find another home for her, not dump her."
There is a city ordinance that prohibits abandoning an animal, said Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood.
"But this sounds like animal cruelty as well, and that is a misdemeanor," Wood said.
An animal cruelty charge in Idaho carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to six months.
Mitchell, who is single and has no children, hadn't planned to get a dog, but he's not parting with the one that came into his life so unexpectedly.
He said he has always loved dogs, and has owned them in the past.
Mitchell vows to never give the animal back to the people that threw it away, and he won't take it to the pound.
"She was definitely traumatized last night," he said. "I hope the people that did this had trouble sleeping."
When the dog relaxed at his home, it jumped on his bed and spent the night sleeping by his side.
"I think I'm going to call her Chance," he said.
After some gentle prodding when told to "sit," the pooch planted its bottom as close to Mitchell as possible, leaned against him and looked up into his eyes.
He estimates the lab is 2- or 3-years-old, and plans to bring it to the vet right away. He also plans to start looking for a place to live that's bigger than the small apartment he now calls home.
"Something with a yard for her," he said.
Mitchell can't imagine why anyone would want to get rid of the yellow lab.
"She's nothing but a good dog," Mitchell said. "She didn't deserve to be dumped like that. I'm glad I found her, and she'll have a good home. That's why I'm calling her Chance. This is a second chance for her."