Volunteers searching for two dogs that ran away after car crash

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – A woman is in critical condition at UAB after a car crash near Cullman Sunday.

Olivia and Seth Hatfield were on their way back to their home in Tennessee after visiting family in Dothan. They were involved in a car crash on I- 65 North near Dodge City. Seth made it out with minor injuries; Olivia is in a coma at UAB Hospital.

The two other passengers in their car were their beloved dogs, Claire and Molly. Both dogs ran away after the impact. A frantic search has been going on ever since.

Olivia and Seth Hatfield (Courtesy: Elliott Thomas)
Olivia and Seth Hatfield (Courtesy: Elliott Thomas)

Elliott Thomas is a close family friend. He lives in Tennessee, but is staying in Alabama to keep searching for Claire and Molly.

“Seth knows that for Olivia, these dogs are her heart,” Thomas said. “And he wants her — when she wakes up from this coma — for these dogs to be there.”

Debbie Martin drove from her home in Atlanta to help make that happen. She’s lending her search and rescue skills she’s acquired through years of volunteering.

Martin shows other volunteers how to wrap raw chicken and sausage into sacks made out of panty-hose.  Volunteers climb trees and tie the bait to tree limbs. The goal is not for dogs to eat the meat inside. Martin hopes the odor of rotting chicken will keep the dogs in the area.

Thomas received several phone calls during Thursday’s search from people saying they have seen one or both of the dogs.  A few minutes later, volunteers spotted Claire darting across Highway 69 in Dodge City.

They tried to catch her, but she ran away. Thomas said the dog is extremely skittish after the car accident. Thomas is trying to keep his spirits up.

“I hope that we can tell her coming out of this coma that the community of Dodge City showed up and they helped find your dogs,” Thomas said. “And they’re here for you. They’re ready to come home.”

Volunteers are setting humane animal traps in areas where Claire has been seen recently.

*** If you see these dogs, call the volunteer group at 256-507-1868 or visit their Facebook page called “Help Find Molly and Claire ***

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(Copyright WIAT 42 News 2014)

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