Photos: Puppy Tied to Train Tracks By Senile Elderly Man Was Rescued By Engineer

They're calling him Banjo, and he is one lucky pup.

The dog was rescued last week by a Union Pacific Railroad engineer after the 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix had been tied to the tracks by a 78-year-old man who was later deemed "senile."

The incident took place late on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 2 in Mecca in Riverside County, according to Riverside County Animal Services, who opted not to discuss the rescue until they could verify information from Union Pacific and be cleared to release details about the near-fatal episode.

The engineer saw a man walking away from the train tracks, and that something had been left behind. That something turned out to be a living puppy, tied down to the tracks.

Union Pacific Special Agent Sal Pina responded to the scene after the engineer stopped the train.

"It's probably one of the worst things I've seen," said Agent Pina, "I've never seen something like this." Pina untied the dog from the tracks.

The man who had tied the dog down was located, and taken to a field office for an interview. "The man said that the family didn't want the dog and didn't know what to do with him," explains Riverside County Animal Services. Because the elderly man seemed to be "confused," and "senile" and "didn't fully understand what he had done," Pina did not find cause to file animal cruelty charges against the unidentified man.

Instead, the man was released into the care of relatives.

The dog, however, ended up heading to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, where he got an exam and a bath. Vets there say the pup "appears very healthy and friendly."

In a nod to "old traffic signals still seen on various rail lines," the puppy was named Banjo, and has been put up for adoption, if anyone wants to give the little guy a new forever home.

To adopt Banjo, a special application process is in effect; Riverside County Animal Services is requiring interested adopters e-mail shelterinfo@rivcocha.org and share why their family would be best for Banjo.