Dog found clinging to life after fall from 70-foot cliff in Santa Barbara

Every Tuesday and Thursday for years, Elizabeth Becker and Barbara Carrington have walked their dogs together. Becker has a chocolate lab, and Carrington has a rat terrier poodle mix.

It’s an exhilarating morning walk. On this day, they were walking from Santa Barbara’s Thousand Steps to Hendry’s Beach and came across a horrible sight. It was a dog — face down and motionless.

“Both of us thought the dog was dead,” Carrington said. “It looked like it had been in a fight.”

The pair called Santa Barbara County Animal Services, but it was the Fourth of July and the department was closed. They called the Santa Barbara Police Department. The Harbor Patrol also responded.

The dog they found was not dead. He was in shock. He had plunged more than 70 feet from the cliffside above, breaking two of his legs and seriously damaging his hip.

A city surveillance camera near the Thousand Steps captured the dog’s fall. He laid there, suffering in pain, all night and morning, until Becker and Carrington found him. Rescue crews put him on a board and took him from the beach.

But the worst may be still ahead. No one has claimed him.

“He’s essentially a homeless, abandoned dog,” said Onalissa Hoodes, a volunteer at Dawg Adoption & Welfare Group who also works planning events at the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Hoodes now is looking to raise money to pay for the dog’s medical bills, which could reach $10,000. If they can’t raise the money, the dog will have to be euthanized. It will cost about $7,000 just for the emergency surgery and at least $3,000 for the follow-up surgeries.

When they found the dog that morning, Carrington and Becker had so many questions: Whose dog was it? How old was he? What was his name?

No one knows for sure. The DAWG volunteers believe that he is about 18 months old and some type of pit mix.

As for his name, after his five-day stray hold is up and if no one claims him, his name would be “Clifford.”

Donations also can be made through the K-9 PALS website and by mentioning which dog in the box for message/comments, or send a check by mail to K-9 PALS, P.O. Box 60755, Santa Barbara, CA, 93160-0755 and note that it is for “Indy, the cliff dog.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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