Quick thinking engineer saves puppy tied to tracks, up for adoption

Officials say a 78-year-old man tied a puppy to train tracks in the California desert, and an engineer had to use emergency brakes to keep from crushing it.

This image provided by Riverside County Animal Services shows Banjo, a 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix that was tied to train tracks in the California desert and rescued by Riverside County Animal Services Tuesday April 2, 2013. / AP Photo/Riverside County Animal Services

INDIA, Calif. (CBS) -- Officials say a 78-year-old man tied a puppy to train tracks in the California desert, and an engineer had to use emergency brakes to keep from crushing it.

Riverside County animal control said in a statement Tuesday that Banjo, a 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix, is fine and up for adoption.

The train was near Mecca on April 2 when the engineer saw a man walking away from the tracks and stopped.

Union Pacific Special Agent Sal Pina responded and called the scene "one of the worst things I've seen."

Pina untied Banjo and detained the man, who said his family didn't want the dog and didn't know what to do.

Pina says he couldn't pursue charges against the unidentified man because he appeared confused and didn't understand what he'd done.

The man was released to family members, and Banjo was taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms where he was examined, treated and bathed, CBS Los Angeles reports.

"After an extensive interview, Agent Pina said that he could not pursue an animal-cruelty case because the man appeared to be confused, or senile and didn't fully understand what he had done," John Welsh of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a statement.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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