By Karen Billing
A vicious pit bull attack occurred last week in Carmel Knolls Park, leaving one dog injured and a community member shaken. The incident involved an off-leash pit bull and the female owner of the dog ran away without an apology or any contact information.
“It was really frightening and to run away like she did was wrong,” said T.A., a Carmel Valley resident who asked to remain nameless. “She shouldn’t be around in the community letting those dogs off leash. I would like to hold her accountable.”
T.A. was walking her 30-pound, seven-month-old rescued mutt Tyson on a leash around 7 p.m. on March 3. She said she was on the concrete pathway when a woman and her pit bull entered the opposite side of the park. The pit bull began charging across the grass at Tyson.
“It was like the dog was on a mission, she was heading right for us and we had nowhere to go,” T.A. said.
The pit bull took hold of Tyson and began to attack, with Tyson yelping and screaming in pain. The pit bull’s owner was still running toward them, yelling for her dog to release Tyson. T.A. was able to get her hands into the pit bull’s mouth to release her jaws, getting bit in the process.
A neighbor jumped a fence to help T.A. and Tyson as the pit bull owner ran off with her dog.
T.A. said she could barely look at Tyson, who was bleeding and crying in the back seat of her car as she sped him to an emergency vet clinic in Sorrento Valley. Tyson had to receive stitches up his leg and he had several puncture wounds, although none were life-threatening.
“It’s a miracle that the dog didn’t do more damage. If I hadn’t been right there Tyson could’ve been killed,” T.A. said.
Rob Kuty, a local professional animal trainer, said that there are some things people can do to protect themselves and their animals from an attacking dog.
“It is important not to run or position your back to a dog,” Kuty said. “Dogs have evolved from wolves, therefore, they have prey instincts. Running and giving your back is easy pickings for a dog.”
He said to avoid eye contact and, if possible, carry a stick as a deterrent. Hold the stick out in front of your body, not over your head which can be taken as a threat. If you are wearing a jacket or other outer wear you can take it off to have the dog grab it, instead of you. He said to look for a way out and move slowly toward the area without turning your back.
T.A. has put up signs in her community about the incident, only to find them torn down. Several neighbors have contacted her to tell stories of similar situations with pit bulls off leash in the park, T.A. thinks the owner may have two or three pit bulls. The one involved in the attack was a very “good-looking” dog with tan and white markings and T.A. said she heard the owner call her “Tracy.”
She does not blame the pit bull for what happened but wants people to be aware of what is going on in the community and hopefully have the dog owner take some responsibility for her actions.
“It’s not the dog’s fault,” said T.A. “People that have aggressive animals need to keep them on a leash.”
Kuty agreed that it is not the pit bull’s fault.
“A dog is a product of their environment, any breed. There are many factors that play into the behavior of dogs,” Kuty said. “An untrained dog is not a controlled dog, trained dogs are the answer. Every dog needs good K-9 etiquette just like people having good human etiquette.”