Yesterday there was an informal unsanctioned road race out on some fairly rural roads near Chapel Hill NC. I rode out there with a pal who ended up getting dropped so I dropped off too. We were sitting around at the finish line chatting and watched the pack go by for the bell lap. The line was at the top of a small rise and then the road went downhill for about 300 yards. At the bottom of the hill was a house, where a family with little kids was playing with their dogs in the yard. As the riders passed the house doing upwards of 30 mph, a little white blur shot through the field. Our hearts were in our throats (although I am sure we were less scared than the racers) as we expected a massive pile up. Shockingly (and also as a testament to bike handling skills) no one went down. But the dog ran back toward the house yelping horribly. But we couldn't tell it had been hurt at all and spent the next few minutes cursing the negligence of the owners and saying how lucky it was no one was hurt. Then one of the racers, who had stopped and turned back, rode up to us and informed us that the dog had died about 5 minutes afterward: apparently someone had just run straight over its abdomen. The little kids were obviously heartbroken, but at least the parents realized it was their fault and felt angry at themselves rather than the cyclists.
In all it was a sad experience, and the first (hopefully only) death I've seen at a bike race.