Service Dog Killed In Traffic Brought To Rendering Plant


Warning: This story may disturb some readers.

Richard Gambord’s service dog went missing on August 12.

Gambord and his dog, Quinn, were coming back from an outing. Quinn, a 15-month-old Golden Retriever, began to choke, and while Gambord looked back to check on his dog, he crashed the van into some bushes on a freeway in San Jose, California. The van’s door opened and Quinn ran off.

For a week, this Los Gatos resident led a team of people to try and find his service dog. Gambord has multiple sclerosis, and he had received Quinn just three weeks before to help him. Gambord said that his service dog had already assisted him in taking a few steps without falling.

Unfortunately, Quinn was nowhere to be found. Instead, Gambord learned some awful news about what happened to his dog.

His missing service dog was killed by a car about an hour after Gambord crashed his van. But then instead of taking the dog’s body to an animal shelter, a Caltrans (the state’s department of transportation) worker took the dog to a rendering plant.

Gambord was devastated to find out that his dog’s body had already been disposed of. He said that his service dog was treated with no more respect than motorists show squashed squirrels.

“It’s just so sickening,” Gambord said. “They took this esteemed and loved dog and hauled him away like he was roadkill. It makes me sick.”

The worker violated Caltrans policy by taking Quinn to the rendering plant. Road employees are supposed to take the body of a dog or a cat to an animal shelter, so it can be scanned for a micro chip. Then the owner can be notified of the animal’s death.

A spokesperson for Caltrans, Brigetta Smith, said they are reviewing its procedures “to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The California Highway Patrol Officer who took Quinn’s body from the highway told Caltrans that the dog was wearing a collar and its purple service uniform. The Caltrans employee said he did not see a collar or uniform.

“I’ve asked our guys to review the agreement we have with the rendering plant to make sure they won’t accept domestic animals from us,” Smith said. “There should be safeguards on both ends.”

She added that Caltrans used to bring all dead animals from roads to the rendering plant, but they changed their procedures two years to only take wild animals to the rendering plant.

Caltrans used to have a contract with the humane society, so they could drop off bodies of cats or dogs that had been killed on a roadway, but “Caltrans chose not to renew it,” said Chris Benninger, executive director of Humane Society Silicon Valley.”

The staff at the Assistance Dog Institute, where Quinn was trained, will hold a memorial for the beloved service dog. They also plan to meet to discuss what happened and see if any good can come out of this tragedy.

Source: San Jose Mercury News

16 Responses to “Service Dog Killed In Traffic Brought To Rendering Plant”

  1. nora says:

    Good? Come out of this tragedy? This is one of the most sickening stories. I am beyond words. Poor beautiful Quinn. So sorry Richard….Quinn deserved so much more respect. The Hiway patrolman who was responsible for taking Quinns body to the rendering plant needs a good ass kicking and beat down.

  2. mikken says:

    The worker “didn’t see” a collar or uniform” on the dog…uh-huh. The worker didn’t give a rat’s ass about the dog’s body and didn’t bring it to the shelter because he simply didn’t care - time is money and all that.

  3. mittens says:

    most communities have laws requiring you to either make an attempt to find the owner of an animal you hit with your car or to call animal control. it’s usually a law not an option that requires the involvment and/or approval of the local freaking rendering plant.

    but of course they don’t take pets at rendering plants-isn’t that what we’re suppose to believe?

    “The California Highway Patrol Officer who took Quinn’s body from the highway told Caltrans that the dog was wearing a collar and its purple service uniform. The Caltrans employee said he did not see a collar or uniform”

    well now we know the reason why they may call a dog food something like ‘ red flannel’. don’t let youre dog out in a workshirt-that’s all i’m saying…

    a a particularly grotesque story of breath taking callousness and stupidity.

  4. kerri says:

    This just sickens me. Poor Quinn! He is at the Rainbow Bridge now. Richard, my heart breaks for you!

    Both the Hiway officer & the Caltrans worker should be punished for this horriable incedent…

    Rest @ the Bridge Dear Quinn…

    For Quinn:

    Rainbow Bridge
    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  5. Post your comment about Quinn's death here.... - Golden Retriever Forum says:

    […] your comment about Quinn’s death here…. On this site Service Dog Killed In Traffic Brought To Rendering Plant | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats You can post your comments about what happened to Quinn the service dog in California.. Kerri […]

  6. NH says:

    That is such a sad story. That breaks my heart. That poor dog.

  7. Nicci831 says:

    This just sickens me… words can describe what a SCREW up this was on Cal-Trans part……First off I hope and pray that it was quick and painless for Quinn and second, I hope someone’s butt is going to get it for this HUGE mistake.

  8. Katie says:

    Rest in peace Quinn.

    Richard, I am so sorry for your loss.


  9. Jenny Bark says:

    Richard I’m so sorry for you. You will be in my prayers.

    Quinn what happened to you was so very wrong and I am sorry. Please know that I will be telling & showing your story to many people who feed by-products to there babies. While you are playing with all of our babies know that your death will help other babies live a better life untill we all see each other again.

  10. Stefani says:

    In 1984, on a break from college, I worked for a local veterinarian as a receptionist. It was, for reasons that I will make clear, a very brief employment experience, by my choice, and taught me something about rendering of companion animals.

    Clients would sometimes call asking about euthanasia. One woman in particular called crying saying her pet was old and sick. The only option the clinic offered for getting animals remains back after euth was cremation, and they had to buy the urn, which ran around $100. She started crying harder, saying she couldn’t afford it and she asked what would happen to her pets remains if she chose not to get the cremation with urn option.

    I put her on hold and went to ask “Dr. A”, the head vet. I didn’t mention that there was a lady on the phone, I just asked what happened to the bodies of the animals when the owners didn’t choose cremation. He told me that the health department picked up the bodies and buried them in a common grave.

    I went back to the phone and repeated this to the crying woman, in the most reassuring voice I could muster. Dr. A, however, was walking out from the treatment area and behind the reception desk and heard me repeat this. He gave me a look that could have killed. I had not worked there very long at all, maybe a couple of weeks, he hardly knew me. The guy got very angry at me. He said something like “Don’t you EVER say that to a client again, do you understand? Don’t you ever tell them that again!!!” Of course, he had not indicated this was confidential information, so I was very hurt and upset at his outburst, because I had no idea why what I had done was wrong. (I was a 19 year old and very eager to please in my new job.)

    Well, in time, I would figure out why he blew up like this.

    There was a veterinary assistant who seemed to me to have some mental issues. She was always physically unkempt and laughed innapropriately, muttered to herself, was vey strange. They scheculed this woman to come in after hours, or stay after hours, and sometimes it would be just her and me closing up. They trusted her a great deal, apparently, and she was responsible for locking up. She was also responsible for euthanizing the cats.

    It struck me as odd that there were always several cats back there, seemingly every day more cats, waiting to be euthanized after hours by this woman. As far as I knew, they had no medical records and were not associated with any clients. I didn’t really know what went on back there, but they had a big cylinder drum which I later learned was used to gas the cats by the seemingnly mentally unhinged woman after hours. One night, the cackling and creepy vet assistant came out, laughing to me about how the cats struggled and carried on inside the drum when she was turning the gas on. All the vets were off the premises by then, I guess they didn’t want to be around for the bad deeds they were paying her to do.

    That obviously upset me a great deal because I had been telling myself pretty lies about why these cats were there to be euthanized.

    Then, the final straw. One of those nights when it was just me and the crazy assistant after hours, a man showed up and he mumbled something unintelligible. I made him repeat himself several times. He handed me his card. It said “BRAUN company,” and also: “We buy bones, meat, fat and gristle.” I will never forget that. It is burned in my mind. He said he was there for a pickup.

    All at once it became clear to me why there were always so many ownerless cats waiting for after hours euthanasia in the gas chamber by the evil assistant. All at once it became clear to me why the vet had yelled at me when I told the lady the story about her pet being buried in a communal grave — it must have been a pretty little lie, like the pretty little lies I had told myself to be able to work there.

    I quit, of course.

    It is more than 20 years later now. Twice in the last 2 years well-meaning friends have tried to refer me to Dr. A, not knowing my history with him. He is practicing “in home” acupuncture now. They think he is a nice guy.

    I know better.

    Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have enough sophistication or experience to know that I could have reported him to a board. But in truth, everything he was doing was probably legal. There were lots of chambers back then, even in Northern Virginia, I guess. Those cats probably were taken off the hands of the local shelter — maybe he was euthing (if you can call it that) them for free, or low cost, then selling their bodies to BRAUN corp. Probably that was all perfectly legal, too.

    But evil, all the same.

    Today, what happens to the bodies of unclaimed pets, at shelters — even at the vets? You must assume that a rendering plant is one possible destination. If you don’t want your pet to end up rendered, you need to do your best to keep control over their remains until the very end. This kind of thing is still going on. I believe people at least have a right to know - a right to full disclosure, which that lady I spoke with 20 years ago was not given. But legally, once you have signed over the custody of the body, this is all probably perfectly legal, although immoral and disrespectful.

    The Toonces Project
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  11. Rhonda says:

    The poem Rainbow Bridge spread all over the Internet with the author as “Unknown.”
    The Rainbow Bridge does have an author, he was a grief counselor and he wrote this poem while dealing with the loss of his own pet. His name is Paul C. Dahm. He obtained the copyright to it in 1977.

    I have no words to this tragic tale - to Quinn I bid God Speed and peace, may you enjoy the company of angels - to Richard - I would extend an invitation to where you will find many who understand your loss and pain

  12. Carol says:

    I feel so sorry that Quinn has gone to the Bridge and left his new owner behind. The pain we feel on the loss of a pet is magnified if that is possible when it is a service dog who has formed that special bond with his owner.
    This page was made by a woman who lost her first Guide Dog Aurich

    The dog in the top picture is her new dog Ollie.
    He came to her very quickly after Aurich was shown the way to the Rainbow Bridge.
    As Aurich was being carried in to his vet he looked over at his owner-his friend and touched his nose to her hand so she would know how to go. She is vision impaired and he took care of her until the end. His loss is still mourned.

    This story takes a nasty turn when she was worried about his food during the recall and started to switch him to another. It had Rice Protein-which wasn’t shown on the ingredients until after it was identified for recall. He had to have surgery to remove the stones and crystals in his kidneys and bladder.
    He is still recovering after several months and must be taken out at least every three hours so his bladder won’t stretch too far. Working dogs are usually required to urinate in the morning and not again until they return home.
    He was such a beautiful playful dog -no one knows if he will ever be that way again. He is among three that acquired this from bad food who went to her school. One died. It seems to me that the whole dog food problem has been stuck on a back burner. I think this is bad as they will go back and so it again.

    I just answered a poll that asked if you had cremated or buried your pets-I buried all of mine in a pet cemetery. After hearing this I am so glad.

    I also want to reiterate that
    Pet is a wonderful site to go to when you have lost a beloved companion.
    They have a chat room that is open 24-7-a message board and a Monday night candle ceremony. I found it over 4 years ago when I found out my Brandy had liver cancer and was going to die. Soon after she passed I found out that my other dog ,Spartacus was very ill. this site-no not the site-the people there helped me through my grief. I stayed as did many others to help others.


    Stefeni-that is horrible. I never knew.

  13. keciacat says:

    It should be law that they at least check for a “chip”! Was this not so in this case? Wouldn’t all trained working dogs be “chipped”?

    My greyhound is tatooed but I had her chipped also. San Diego County Animal Services encourages chipping and they do it for you for a very small fee when you adopt.

  14. Carol says:

    Yes, I know that they are chipped before they ever leave their school.
    I was surprised to find a dog in my courtyard and took him in. Not seeing a name tag I called the police who can check for chips. Before they came, I looked at her collar-a Goldendoodle-and saw writing. I always had my dog’s collars engraved so if the tags fell off there would still be ID in addition to a chip.
    I called the number and the owner came immediately. He said that his wife had recently died of cancer and he was just diagnosed-they had 3 kids. I asked him if his dog was chipped and he said not yet-his dog was 4. I asked him to please chip him as we would never had known where he belonged if he lost his collar.

    Everyone please chip your pets.

  15. doug says:

    sorry to hear about your dog. but it is not caltrans job to get a hold of owners of pets that are on the freeway. it should have been the shelter to get a hold of the owner. they would have been the ones to know if the dog had a chip or not not caltrans.the public needs to stop putting blame on caltrans for all the things wrong on freeways thay are out there to make the roads safe for you.what about the caltrans employee that lost his life on tuesday fixing a gaurd rail when a speeder lost control and hit him. you dont hear about that but you hear about a dog dieing.sorry for being rude but it hurts that the public cares more about a dog then a human life that was just doing his job to make it safe for you.

  16. Reporter Cracks Dead Animal Dumping Scandal | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] people in the South Bay area of Saratoga, California, reacted with outrage last month when Caltrans admitted that it had disposed of the body of a special service dog by taking it to a rendering plant without even notifying the owner. Following up on this story, the […]

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