Young bison dies after dogs enter paddock

January 5, 2012 6:48:58 PM PST
One of the newly-arrived bison at Golden Gate Park died Wednesday afternoon after being frightened by some small dogs.

The seven young bison had arrived at Golden Gate Park in November. Now there are just six. One of the newly-arrived bison at Golden Gate Park died Wednesday afternoon after being frightened by some small dogs.

The incident began when three small dogs got into the buffalo paddock through a hole in the fence.

"A dog walker had put his dogs off leash as they were going to enter the park and two of the dogs somehow got under the fence and started herding the bison; this went on for a while until a ranger came and some police came," witness Liz Diamond said.

"The buffalo were scared of the little dogs and the dogs were chasing them around; and then the buffalo ran into the side of the railing and injured itself," witness Greg Leonard said.

The young bison had a foot-long gash on one side. A veterinarian from the zoo said the bison also had three broken ribs. A mere seven hours later the young bison died.

A necropsy performed by zoo staff on Thursday revealed that the bison likely died of blunt force trauma, possibly from running into a fence post or tree.

The dogs were being handled by a professional dog walker who was cited for failing to use a leash and for animal disturbance.

"I'm really surprised that it was a dog walker and what happened," dog walker Shawn Martin said.

There is a dog park adjacent to the bison paddock. The dog park is designated as an off-leash area, but leashes are required in most of the park.

Between the paddock and dog park, ABC7 encountered two dogs off leash.

"I don't know if I'm assuming its off-leash because everybody else is or it's just not marked that it is on leash," dog owner Katie Kindt said.

Kindt says she has her dogs on leash where signs are posted.

There are no plans yet about replacing the bison that died.


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