Loose dogs attack 3 in Golden Gate Park

July 1, 2010 5:56:11 PM PDT
Three people were attacked by dogs while walking in Golden Gate Park Thursday morning. One of the dogs, a pit bull, was shot in the cheek by one of many officers who responded to the scene.

Police and animal control officers say it is highly unusual for a pit bull, or any dog, to attack people who are walking alone without a dog with them. However, that is exactly what happened to Bela Martin and two other people Thursday.

"All I did was scream, 'Help! Help! Somebody come, it's tearing me to shreds here," said 71-year-old Martin. She was taking her daily walk through the park at about 6:30 a.m. when two dogs appeared out of nowhere and began attacking her. "I didn't pass out, but I was on the grass, and then the blood of course went all over me."

Martin suffered serious bite wounds.

"Both of my sides of the leg and some down here [pointing to her thigh], not too bad, and they're going to take some kind of x-ray now," she said.

Police armed with shotguns and animal control officers arrived quickly, searching through bushes for the dogs which had also attacked two other people not far from Martin.

The male pit bull was spotted and captured hiding in the bushes after being shot in the cheek by an officer. The pit bull was reportedly the more aggressive of the two dogs. He was still fighting after being caught with what animal control calls a "come along pole" or a stick attached to a noose.

The other dog, which animal control believes is a boxer mastiff mix, was found not far away.

The wounded pit bull was taken to the emergency hospital at Pets Unlimited. His mate is at Animal Care and Control's shelter. Rebecca Katz, director of the agency, says the dogs do not appear to be strays.

"They appear to be owned," said Katz. "Both of them had harnesses on. No tags. No microchips. They were in good health."

Martin says she will continue her walks in the park, but will be more careful.

"Watch out, take a stick or cane with me, something to protect me," she said. "So if I beat them off? maybe, I don't know, they came so quickly. That's the last thing I expected to have happen."

One of the other two victims was taken to UC San Francisco where she was treated for bites, the other refused treatment.

Police are looking for the owner of the two dogs. Ultimately, the city will decide the fate of the two animals.


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