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jca's avatar

If you were driving home at night and saw a small animal in the road, half dead but moving (as if recently struck by a car) would you run it over to put it out of it's misery?

Asked by jca (36043points) November 29th, 2010

If you were driving home at night, on a deserted stretch of road, and saw a small animal, for example a raccoon, that seemed to be immobilized, half dead in the road, but moving, would you go back and run it over to put it out of it’s misery? Assume it’s a cold night and there are no cars around, and most likely the police are not going to be interested in a raccoon or other small animal.

This happened to me last night, (and it was late, cold and I had a my toddler in the car so was not at liberty to take the animal for vet care) but when I went back, it was dead, so I did nothing. It would have been hard to run it over (I am an animal lover) but it would have been equally hard if it were still alive, to go home and forget about it, thinking about it being in pain, cold and terrified as cars sped past it.

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31 Answers

SadisticMime's avatar

Perhaps if I didn’t think it could be saved.

Coloma's avatar

I have re-run over a squirrel and also pulled an alive but squished king snake out of the road and smacked it against a fence post to end it’s suffering.

I have also called the sherriff and game warden on several occasions to shoot severely injured car hit deer.

Never a pleasant expereince, but sometimes necessary.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes…I have and I will leave it at that.

AmWiser's avatar

Eeewwww! No!

YoBob's avatar

I have, on more than one occasion, put a suffering animal out of it’s misery. In all of those cases it was simply the right thing to do.

For those of you with a more squeamish constitution, a word of caution: Do not purchase “sticky” mouse/rat traps unless you are:

1) Heartless enough to see the little buggers still alive and stuck to the glue and are then able to toss them in the trash to die a very slow death (probably at least a day or two).


2) Have enough backbone to finish the job yourself before disposing of the critters.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would put it out of it’s misery.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I wouldn’t hit it with the car. Too imprecise. I’d end it’s suffering if that was the only alternative.

HungryGuy's avatar

No. That’s even more cruel.

Supacase's avatar

I see the compassionate reasoning, but I couldn’t do it. The thump of running over something that is already dead unsettles me for miles.

nebule's avatar

Hell no! I’d probably (if it wasn’t too mashed up :-/) wrap it in a blanket and take it home, phone the local emergency vet for advice and just try to keep it as comfortable as possible in its last moments of life.

helkie's avatar

No I’d try to save it.

ucme's avatar

Well if mouth to mouth failed….give us a kiss roadkill….. then i’d hope I had the gumption to do say yes.

Coloma's avatar

One of the more common injuries deer hit by cars suffer is a broken pelvis. There is no way that injury can be repaired on a wild adult deer.

I have watched horrible scenes on several occasions of a deer with a broken pelvis literally, ‘swimming’ across a road with it’s useless hindquarters dragging behind.

The only humane thing to do is to have it ‘dispatched’ asap.

Once I watched a beautiful, huge buck dragging itself across a field after being caught in a fence and finally thrashing it’s way free.

It took about 20 minutes for the game warden to arrive with his rifle.

Heartbreaking to say the least, but I did not attempt to catch or handle the deer, that would have only added more pain and terror to it’s already tragic condition.

tedd's avatar

I ran over a dying raccoon once with my car to put it out of its misery. Incredibly heart breaking experience.

helkie's avatar

I wouldnt want it to be in pain so I would bring it to the nearest vet, and hope for the best. If it lived I’d keep it (Unless it was a wild animal.) Then I’d let it go. (Not die. Just let lt go back to the wild.)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Be VERY careful around any injured animal, but especially a wild one. You never know how they’re going to react.

Coloma's avatar



Even our own pets can become dangerous if in pain and frightened.

Once years ago my little shepherd got her paw stuck in between the slats on a plastic patio chair. I was trying to soap her paw to remove it and she bit me.

This was the worlds sweetest dog, never a show of aggression, but, she was in pain and scared.

Had to have a neighbor cut the chair off her paw with a hacksaw!

Cruiser's avatar

This is one of the greatest comedy scenes on this matter ever and it is too bad they don’t show them running the possum over again….twice… and the final scene of a well worn possum walking off the road as they drive off. These guys don’t realize possums play dead!! Start at 0:45… XD

ducky_dnl's avatar

No, I would hate myself. I’d see if I could save it. I could never kil something. :(

El_Cadejo's avatar

And we want blood and guts all on the underside of our cars why?

I mean I see the whole putting out of the misery thing but as others stated, there are services for this. A friend of mine once tried the whole put it out of its misery thing and ended up with intestines wrapped around their axle. Car stunk for weeks because we coudlnt even begin to get all the blood and guts cleaned off.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@uberbatman I was thinking of all the things you could damage on the car as well.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

If I thought it could be saved I would take it to the vet. If I thought it wouldn’t make it any way I would quickly put it out of it’s misery.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If I didn’t think it could be saved by a vet then I’d probably shoot it dead and scoot it off the road. It would be really hard for me to see it while driving and make myself re run it over with my own car, I don’t know why.

YARNLADY's avatar

I hope I never have to make that choice. I don’t think I could do it.

jca's avatar

This was a hypothetical question, but as I stated originally, taking it to the vet would not be one of the choices. The two choices are either 1. Leave it to suffer or 2. Hit it to put it out of it’s misery.

What brought this up for me was that, as I stated, it happened to me last night and with a 3 year old sleeping in the car and it being a Sunday night, late, vet care was not an option (time wise – work night – and money wise as it would be the emergency vet – more money than regular vet).

I don’t think that hitting a small animal like a raccoon would damage the car. It probably would not take much to kill a raccoon that was already lying dormant. Even so, a car would not be damaged too easily by a raccoon or other small animal.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jca not damaged by it, but its blood and guts still can get all over your car leaving it stinkin

jca's avatar

@uberbatman : I think you are talking about something large, maybe. most dead small animals I see barely have any blood. i think it probably does not take much of a 1000+ lb. car to kill one pretty quickly (I’m not talking deer, I’m talking a squirrel, raccoon, opossum, something small).

Coloma's avatar

I squashed a frog in my front door last summer, it was not a happy moment. lol

jca's avatar

I think about pets that I had that were hit by cars and I just hope they died quickly.

Blackberry's avatar

The one time I saw it, I avoided it out of reflex.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jca ehhh I hit a squirrel once and it left a funk under my car. Some of its guts managed to shoot up into the underside of the car. Then they cooked there due to the heat of said car. Fun drive home that night…

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