Oct
02

DOGS RUNNING FREE ARE NO JOKE

By

Block: “My dog doesn’t need a leash”
Buster: 2 victims and a mission

Saturday, September 4 at 2:30 in the afternoon, my husband Jack and I had just returned from the grocery store. We quickly took in the groceries, then I put the leash on my anxiously awaiting dog, Jasper, to go out for a fluid adjustment walk. We just rounded the corner of the medial strip and walked a few more steps as Jasper tried to find just the right place.

We happened to be directly across from a grassy field, that surrounding owners consider to be their “dog park.” Our full attention was on the task at hand, Jasper was quiet, the birds were singing, all was good until out of nowhere came a black and white pit bull mix, Laila, owned by nearby neighbors.

Laila was heading straight for Jasper as I firmly said, “Go home, go home and then yelled, “dog with no leash!” In a split second Laila was viciously attacking Jasper. I yanked the leash as hard as I could to pull Jasper away, That was not successful, so I reached down to try to pull him away and ended up falling on the ground myself. Now Laila was joined by Ranger, her friend, a Rodesian Ridgeback, also not on leash and owned by different nearby neighbors. I had Jasper to my right and thought I was protecting him only to learn later that the pit bull was attacking him from behind. Ranger was in front of us both and got Jasper’s front leg. Somehow I was bitten during one of my lunges to protect Jasper. I was now screaming for my life and Jasper’s. “Help me please, my dog is being killed,” I screamed over and over again. Jasper was no match for these two attack dogs, now in full pack mode, nor was I, as I realized I was in danger, too.

My wonderful next door neighbors, Michelle and Mark Russo, were the first on the scene. Michelle tried to get Jasper, Mark was successful in pulling Laila off temporarily. Ranger’s owner finally arrived and successfully pulled off Ranger and sent him home. Now Jasper was behind me, but little did I know, Laila was sinking his teeth into Jasper’s hindquarters and was literally shaking him to death. Laila’s owner pulled him off, but he went back. After three attempts, Mark released Jasper for good from Laila’s powerfully clenched jaws at which point Michelle grabbed Jasper straight up in the air and out of the fray and ran with him as fast as she could, unknowingly almost choking Jasper. When she was close enough to our house she put him down and yelled for him to go home. Michelle was hurt with a bad gash and a possible bite on her finger. While Michelle was making sure that Jasper got home, Mark made sure the dogs didn’t go for me while I regained my composure, put my shoes back on (somehow they came off when I fell to the ground to try to save Jasper.) I hobbled across the street, partially in shock. Mark was beside me helping all the way saying, “I’ll take you to the vet. We have to make sure Jasper is OK, Laila was shaking him like a rag doll. I’m surprised he’s still alive.”

I climbed up my back steps to Jasper. He was huddled in the corner, sitting in his own pee, looking terrified and trembling. My neighbor and I took Jasper to the Malibu Vet Clinic and soon found out that Jasper had 3 puncture wounds and needed 6 stitches. He had huge, ugly bruises on his tummy and elsewhere under his thick coat of fur. He was a scared but brave patient. Jasper was given two prescriptions and I was told to watch him carefully for signs of internal injury, particularly bladder and bowel. As we were walking to the car, Mark noticed another injury on Jasper’s leg and back we went.

Once that was all taken care of, we took Jasper home and then Mark took me to the Malibu Emergency Clinic. I had, indeed, been bitten on my elbow. I had a nasty puncture wound. My knees looked like they belonged to a badly bullied 8-year-old. The clinic cleaned me up, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me home. On the way to the car, Mark noticed I was still bleeding and found yet another puncture wound. “Hm-m—m, like doggie, like mommie. Thank goodness for Mark. Back I went for my patching.

BACK STORY: Three years ago, my husband, Jack and I rescued Jasper. He was a 20-lb beauty with his thick golden coat highlighted by blonde streaks. His body was solid and his muscles were strong, but his huge, auburn eyes though loving, held a haunting tinge of fear. He had endured a tough, first year, during which he had 3 adoptive owners and 3 different names – he was severely beaten, kicked, mistreated and even deserted. Two weeks before we adopted him, he was hit by a car. For weeks, Jack and I worked to put some zip into the severely withdrawn, Jasper. Slowly, with the help of three different trainers, he came to life and was able to leave some of the trauma behind as we poured on the love. We’ve worked hard with Jasper to get him to the point of being a happy, carefree little doggie, and we follow the rules.

I understand that dogs are supposed to be on a leash at all times when out and about in the Pt. Dume Club where we live. That rule is broken constantly and yesterday it almost cost my dog’s life, and endangered mine. I constantly see people riding bicycles with their dogs running behind – not on leash. Then there are the dogs that walk independently while their owners triumphantly carry their leashes. The gang dogs across the street play regularly – romping around the grassy field without their leashes. But, in a split second, when little, unsuspecting dogs go by, they become bait to the “free” dogs who can cause damage.
There are rules for dog owners living in high density communities and I think those rules should be followed for everyone’s safety.
I want for there to be penalties put on owners that allow their dogs to run freely without leashes putting little dogs and children at risk

My dog is afraid again. He spent Labor Day weekend under things. He didn’t want me to pick him up. He didn’t want to go outside. I woke up the day after the attack wondering how to get Jasper through our own area so I could walk him safely.

Final Note: While out in front of our homes Sunday afternoon talking with Michelle and Mark the day after the attack, the owners of both Laila and Ranger came up and apologized profusely — again. They have offered assistance and I know they feel sincerely terrible about what happened. Then to our great surprise, we looked across the street and Laila was walking along without an owner and without a leash. Soon, both of her owners were running in opposite directions trying to coral Laila. If Jasper had been out at that moment…(I’ll leave the details to your imagination.

What have I done? I filed a formal complaint with Animal Control. I walk my dog early in the morning (in the dark) so as to avoid other dogs.
I distributed this article to all the owners in our community. I guess the question remains: Why do so many people feel they are above rules and even above the law? There is an attitude today that “rules apply for everyone but me.” I’m longing for a more polite society where we look out for each other and where a woman walking her little dog on leash do not both have to be bitten by a dog having a bad day owned by people “above the rules.”

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