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Man reaches into car, hurls dog into street in Montclair road rage fight

UPDATE: Lyft driver found, charged with animal abuse

MONTCLAIR — Authorities are trying to determine who is seen in a video, posted online Sunday, throwing a dog out of a vehicle during an apparent road rage altercation.

It’s not clear when the video was taken, but it was uploaded to the sharing site Streamable.com Sunday. Versions have since popped up on YouTube and prompted several conversations on Reddit. Commenters have been trading information and examining the video closely, trying to identify the people involved. There is no credit or description on the original post.

It’s not clear from the video if the dog survived the incident.

Lyft driver charged after dog thrown into street in Montclair road rage

Caution: The video below includes profanity and violence. It may show the dog being run over, though it’s not clear because of the quality of the video.

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In the video, two cars are seen on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair — a red Honda angled toward a white Toyota. Two people, apparently the drivers, are fighting. A man in a short-sleeved shirt with light hair and sunglasses first falls as he lunges toward another, with darker, longer hair, and a long-sleeved shirt.

“What’s your f—ing problem?” the man with the short sleeves yells as he continues moving toward the man with the long sleeves, then grabs and shoves him. The man with the long sleeves tells the person recording the incident — apparently seated in another car — “record that.”

As the man with the short sleeves returns to the driver’s side of the Toyota, the man with the long sleeves goes to the passenger side, opens a door and throws a dog out, toward the sidewalk. The dog scurries back as the man with long sleeves gets back into his Honda and then drives away.

It’s not clear what becomes of the dog. Some commenters on reddit and other sites said it looked to them like the dog had gotten back to the man with the short sleeves and been picked up. Others thought the dog was run over by the Honda as it pulled away.

Throughout the video, a male and female voice are heard yelling inside the car from which the incident is being recorded.

“The dog’s going to die!” the female voice yells at one point. “Oh my God,.Oh my God. Why’d he do that to this dog?”

Montclair Animal Control Officer Michele Shiber said she, too, can’t quite tell what became of the dog. She said she’s eager to talk to the person who originally recorded the video, and she was reaching out to Montclair police and others Sunday to try to get a better idea of what happened.

The Honda had, on its back, what appears to be a Lyft sticker. Alexandra LaManna, a spokesperson for the company, said the driver wasn’t on a trip for Lyft at the time.

“We are shocked and horrified by what we saw in this video,” she wrote in an email to New Jersey 101.5. “While this did not happen on the Lyft platform, we permanently deactivated the individual after learning of his truly cruel behavior; he will never again be able to use Lyft.”

While her message suggested Lyft knew the driver’s identity, she didn’t say whether Lyft had been in touch with Montclair Police or any animal welfare authorities. She also didn’t say if she knew when the incident took place or had more information about the circumstances around it. New Jersey 101.5 has sent LaManna a message seeking clarification on those points.

Shiber said she became aware of the incident when she saw it posted online. She’s been in touch with police, but said she’s not aware of anyone reporting the incident prior to the video being posted. She said that’s “a little strange.”

Bloomfield Avenue is a highly trafficked road through the heart of Montclair’s downtown. In the video, there seems to be plenty of vehicular and street traffic. It takes place during the daytime, when the area is typically busy with pedestrians.

Shiber said she’s been in touch with a veterinarian office in town, and no one has brought in the dog.

Regardless of whether the dog survived, she said, “Someone went into someone else’s car, pulled out a dog and threw it into the street. That’s a crime.”

A person who contacted New Jersey 101.5 Sunday said he recognized the man who threw the dog as a driver for a local restaurant, and provided the station with a partial name. New Jersey 101.5 has not been able to confirm that information, or the claims of several other online commenters who said they believe they’d identified the man.

Matt Stanton, spokesperson for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said mid-day Sunday he wasn’t personally aware of the incident, but would check in with others in the organization. Montclair Police did not have a public information officer available Sunday to address questions.

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