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Beloved herding dog comes home

Pooch recovering from Father’s Day hit-and-run
By: Ally Rondoni Journal Correspondent
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After surviving a brutal hit-and-run and the following weeks of recovery, Maggie the cattle dog gets to go home. For the past few weeks Maggie was recovering at Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic after she was hit by a teenage driver who reportedly plowed into a crowd of cattle and riders on horseback during the Reader Ranch’s annual cattle drive June 19. The “helpful” cattle herder was discharged Wednesday to her excited owner. Maggie’s owner John Reader, who watched the attack, expressed his joy Tuesday. “It’s a big relief to have Maggie back with me,” Reader said. “I’ve been looking forward to today. Though I’m a little apprehensive about her injuries and recovery, I feel real good.” Mike Dearmin, the veterinarian who preformed Maggie’s surgery, said that when she was brought in she had a diaphragmatic hernia, her stomach and spleen were in her chest cavity, and her right femur had been broken. “She recovered a lot faster than expected given her injuries, she’s very fit,” Dearmin said. “She’s very intelligent, eager to please, and trusting of people. Because she’s a working dog, her want to be helpful really helped her recovery.” When asked if Maggie would run cattle again, Dearmin said, “I’m cautious, she’s got a very long road to recovery concerning that leg. Bone heals more slowly. We’ll have to follow her recovery to see.” The hit-and-run driver was identified as Justin Philip Lombardobarton, 19, of Camptonville who is still being held on $100,000 bail in Sierra County after he was arrested June 24. Lombardobarton is being charged with felony vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon, and animal cruelty. District Attorney Larry Allen also filed later charges on July 6 for reckless driving, hit-and-run and not having insurance. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 22 in Sierra County Court. The alleged attack occurred at Alleghany-Ridge Road in a rural town east of Highway 49 above North San Juan in Sierra County. “I feel real good,” Reader said of the arrest. “We all worked hard to catch this young man, what he did was unthinkable. It was horrifying; I can’t believe that there are people out there that would do this.” Reader continued saying, “But also, as a human being, there’s a little remorse for the young man. Hopefully he’ll be able to turn his life around and get on a different path.” The Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic received “countless” calls about Maggie and the donations received were enough to cover the costs of her veterinary bills. The clinic declined to release the amount stating it was a personal matter. “The support has been overwhelming,” Reader said. “There are not enough words to describe the community support and how wonderful they’ve been. It’s real heart warming.” “I’d like to thank each and every one of you for the support and thoughts and donations for Maggie,” Reader added. Maggie won’t be back to work immediately. “She has to stay in confinement for eight to 12 weeks with leash exercise only,” Reader said. “I’m just really glad to bring her home.”