CALIFORNIA -- I am a retired high school teacher who used to enjoy taking walks around the Concord neighborhood I've lived in for 34 years. On Dec. 18, I was taking my 17-pound dachshund, Bart, and my son's 9-pound Chihuahua, Coco, on my regular morning walk. As I turned the corner from Wilson Lane onto Thornwood Drive I looked up and saw a pit bull mix charging at us from across the street.
In the next instant the pit bull was viciously attacking my dog. I screamed for help and tried to get the dog off Bart. My dog would have died had it not been for a man who got out of his vehicle and threw a heavy object onto the dog, which then finally ran off.
When the attack was over I was covered in blood. I had a broken finger and bruises and bite marks on my hands. My dog had several deep bite wounds all over his head and neck. As I waited for help, people stopped to comfort me and Bart. One man followed the pit bull to find out where it lived and reported the address to me.
My son arrived before the police, and we rushed to the emergency veterinary clinic. I thought surely the dog would be taken into custody for such a terrible attack.
To date, an Animal Control officer reports that he has gone to the dog's home but no one answers the door, although he can hear dogs barking. He says that there are other complaints against the dog and I should not approach the owners. Animal Control has also sent me information regarding rabies with a recommendation to visit my doctor.
I am now terrified to walk in the vicinity of the dog's home, which is only a half-mile from my home and two blocks from an elementary school. I have been told I need more witnesses to the attack for Animal Control to do anything else, but as I had to rush my dog to the vet and could not stay and collect names, addresses and phone numbers, how do I find these witnesses?
I would like to thank the man who saved Bart's life, my neighbor who followed Coco home, the woman who gave me a blanket to cover Bart while he was lying on the sidewalk in shock, the man who said a prayer over Bart, and the Sage Veterinary Center staff for treating Bart.
I am also wondering if you can give me some advice. What can I do to protect myself and my dogs on a walk? I have bought pepper spray and I now bring a stick. Is that enough? What is best?
Hmm, my suggestion is to keep complaining. You only need yourself as a witness against this dog. Why isn't your word - and your vet and hospital bills - enough?? As for what to carry, I suggest you get your handgun carry permit and take it with you whenever you are out. A stick and pepper spray will not stop these types of dogs. Only a gun will.
Corinne Sutherland, Concord
(San Jose Mercury News - Jan 26, 2015)