'Gordo' the dog out of surgery after being struck during police chase

CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- "Gordo," a little dog that became a victim, then a celebrity after a wild high-speed police pursuit through South L.A. Wednesday night, had his hind leg successfully operated on Thursday afternoon.

Gordo was injured when a stolen van ran him over on 87th Street between Wadsworth and Hooper avenues Wednesday around 9 p.m. Thursday night, after his operation, doctors said it's likely he'll need more surgery.

After the two pursuit suspects were apprehended Wednesday night, Gordo, a year-old Maltese mix, was located and rushed to City of Angels Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City to receive emergency medical care. He sustained major injuries to his rear right leg and hip area.

According to surgeons, Gordo's owner had two options: get the leg reattached or have it amputated. Before going into surgery Thursday afternoon, Gordo's veterinarians said they had good news.

"The plan, based on the pre-operative testing that we've done with X-rays, is to try and salvage his leg," said veterinarian Dr. Kim Carey.

Santos Son, Gordo's owner, says the family pet is lucky, and that the dog wants to live. Son said his kids cried when they saw how badly injured Gordo was.

"He heard some sirens outside, ran out the door and he was hit by the car that was being chased," said Dr. Carey. "(The van) was purportedly running on its rims, rather than the tires. We suspect that one of the rims cut his back leg."

"We've been stabilizing him, basically making him comfortable," said veterinarian Dr. Annie Lo. "That's one of the big things is that he's so painful, and that we've been giving him very good IV-injectable opioids at a continuous rate to make him feel very comfortable."

The cost of Gordo's care will run in the thousands of dollars. Donations have been pouring in to help the family pay for his care.

Gordo's owner says he's thankful for the help the family has received. Gordo's long-term prognosis, considering what he's been through, looks pretty good.

"In the long term, he hopefully will have a very good result," said Carey. "Running, jumping, playing, going wild."

Gordo has been receiving an outpouring of support from people on social media, with the hashtag #savethewhitedog even trending on Twitter. The animal hospital says it has received thousands of dollars in donations.

Eyewitness News viewers who wish to donate and help Gordo and his family with veterinary expenses can visit www.accessanimalhospitals.com.

Sign in to your PayPal account and type "Gordo" in the identification line.


Two suspects, 21-year-old Yovany Ervin Rodriguez of Los Angeles and 26-year-old Gwendi Yarubi Valenton of Bakersfield, were taken into custody immediately after Wednesday night's pursuit.

It all started around 8:30 p.m. when the driver of a Chevrolet Astrovan failed to pull over during a traffic stop. The suspect drove erratically at high speeds without headlights on surface streets. The van drove onto sidewalks at least twice, drove into oncoming traffic and narrowly missed several vehicles. After police used the PIT maneuver, the van lost at least two tires, but the driver turned around and kept going with sparks flying from underneath the vehicle.

At 9:07 p.m., a CHP unit successfully pitted the van, which swerved and nearly drove out of it, before the police car hit it again near the intersection of Manchester and Central avenues. Several CHP units pulled up. The driver and passenger doors of the van opened. Two suspects were promptly taken into custody.

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