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Fremont police are searching for the owner of a terrier mix they say flew out of a pickup truck on Fremont Boulevard on Sept. 18, 2013.

FREMONT-- A little dog that fell from a pickup truck was left by the side of a Fremont road Wednesday morning, and police say a similar second pup was found a short time after running down the road a half-mile away.

While authorities said they hoped the dog abandoned on the side of the road after it was seen flying out of a blue pickup truck was "a case of the person not knowing what occurred," the dog's ejection turned suspicious after an identical canine was found nearby, also with a leash and no tags.

"Finding a second dog definitely changes the scenario for us," police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said. "It's definitely suspicious and odd ... to find two dogs, half-a-mile apart, that appear to be from the same family with different accounts of how they were found."

A man driving in the area of Fremont Boulevard near Gibraltar Drive about 8:45 a.m. saw the first miniature terrier mix fall from the pickup truck and stopped to help retrieve the little dog, Bosques said. As the man got out of his car and began chasing the dog, he watched as the woman drove away and never turned around.

The witness told police he didn't know whether the dog, who had a collar and leash but no tags, had jumped from the cab window or from the bed of the truck. It wasn't immediately known if the truck had been moving slowly or stopped at the time.

A community services officer driving on Fremont Boulevard noticed the witness trying to catch the little dog, which was running around on the side of the road just north of American High School near the Marbaya Apartments. While the dog was not injured, Bosques said it eventually lay down out of breath, where it remained until Animal Services arrived.

Within two hours of police issuing a community alert in search of the dog's owner, a second dog of the same size, breed and age was found wandering on Alder Avenue on an unattended leash, just half a mile from where the first dog fell from the pickup truck. The second terrier, who was also uninjured, was brought into the shelter just after 11 a.m., where the first terrier had arrived to be scanned for a microchip.

According to Bosques, the fact that both of the dogs were on leashes suggested that their owner was taking them somewhere, and shelter workers ruled out the possibility that either simply wandered from an enclosed backyard. The shelter workers said the leashes raised their suspicions about the pups' potential abandonment.

"Our shelter staff is wondering 'Were these dogs abandoned?'" Bosques said. "I'm still optimistic and hopeful that the owner may be at work and may come home to realize the dogs are gone ... But if abandonment is the case, we'd just like to hear from the owner so we can move forward and find a new home for the pets."

Bosques stressed the importance of contacting a shelter officially if trying to give up a pet, in this case, because the adoption process can get underway sooner if the hold on the dogs can be lifted. She says shelter employees also need to know about a pet's temperament, personality and other details, such as whether they're good with kids or other animals.

The dogs, who shelter employees say are "definitely" from the same family, are both described as friendly male terrier mixes between 3 and 5 years old and weigh about 15 to 20 pounds. The first dog was wearing a green harness collar with no tags and a blue-and-pink leash attached, while the second was wearing a brown collar with no tags and a green and white rope leash. Neither of the dogs have been microchipped, nor have they been neutered, Bosques said.

Anyone who recognizes the dog is asked to contact the Tri-City Animal Shelter, located at 1950 Stevenson Blvd. behind the police department, at 510-790-6630. The shelter will be open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.