My wife and I moved to Castro Valley in the late seventies. Both of our children attended Castro Valley public schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. Two years ago we moved three miles away from our home of thirty-three years to our “piece of heaven,” right down the street from Lake Chabot Park. We have so enjoyed hiking the many trails near our neighborhood over the past two years. On Labor Day, as we reached Raccoon Point along the shoreline trail a dog named Hannah (Jack Russell terrier mix?) ran toward our six-pound toy poodle and savagely attacked him with the intent to kill. As the dog sped toward our dog, teeth bared, her owner yelled “pick up your dog!” The owner knew her dog was vicious yet let her run off-leash on a busy, public trail. Signs are clearly posted that all dogs must be leashed on the paved shoreline trail. Our dog screamed (a sound that will haunt us for a long time) throughout the attack. I was in the thick of it, trying to pull Hannah off of our Leo. Hannah’s owner was able to grab Leo and pull him up, and he bit her on the lip.
When I angrily told Hannah’s owner that she needed to keep her dog on a leash the owner had the nerve to reply that our dog bit her! We were incredulous and traumatized. At the time Leo did not seem to be bleeding, so we immediately took him home. Upon giving him a bath, I found a puncture would. Leo sustained a serious bite wound to his shoulder requiring four sutures, and a laceration on his neck dangerously close to his ceratoid artery. He was lucky to have survived the attack. The emergency veterinary bill was over $500. We wanted to get away from this owner and her vicious dog quickly and failed to get her personal information. Our mistake.
I am writing this letter to warn Lake Chabot hikers about irresponsible dog owners who believe the rules don’t apply to them and, thus, threaten the well-being and very survival of our precious animals. And to dog owners --LEASH YOUR DOGS !!!!!!!! If Hannah’s owner reads this, our Leo was nearly killed by your dog and you should do the right thing and cover the vet fees. I am sending in a photo of Leo’s shoulder wound. Images often speak louder than words. Leo is still whimpering and often trembles. His physical and emotional pain is palpable. And we can’t stop replaying the incident in our minds.
From now on I am carrying pepper spray when I hike. Beware those of you who walk your dog off-leash. If your dog approaches me or my Leo on any trail-I will temporarily blind your dog. Never again will my little guy get attacked. And I will call the police.