Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you realize you haven’t.
Joggers are rightfully wary of dogs, since dogs often chase people who are running or jogging—and attacks do occur with frequency. But what happens when the tables are turned, and the dog’s owner is even more aggressive than the dog itself? Such was the case back in January when a woman says that she was attacked first by a dog, and then by the dog’s owner.
It all unfolded in Oakland’s Anthony Chabot Regional Park on January 3 when a woman says she was jogging when she was attacked by two dogs. The woman told the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department that it was the dogs’ owner, not the dogs, however, that left a ghastly bite impression on her body when she attempted to defend herself with pepper spray. The dogs’ owner also punched and kicked the woman, whose identity has not been revealed in the media.
When the story originally ran in January, police put out a call on social media asking for anyone with information about the identity of the woman—provided in park video surveillance footage—to come forward. And that they did. With the help of the public, the dogs’ owner was identified as 19-year-old Alma Cadwalader. An attorney for the Cadwalader says that the runner simply assumed that the dogs were going to attack her, but that they did not, and that the runner’s action of pepper spraying the dogs was an overreaction. She says that her client was just trying to defend her pets.
Regardless, police arrested Cadwalader the day after the attack. She was booked into the Santa Rita Jail on charges of felony battery, false imprisonment and robbery.
The jogger in this case was justified in being fearful of dogs. Running or jogging around a dog triggers what animal trainer Cesar Milan calls a dog’s prey drive. Dog in the wild must chase down their prey, and seeing a person running triggers that instinct. Dogs are conditioned to naturally bark when they see someone running. It is their warning to the person to stay away. When they see the person keep on running, they believe that they have “won.” After all, the person kept running away, right?
Over time, the dog who is exposed to joggers and not trained to avoid aggressive behavior toward them may be conditioned to get bolder, and perhaps give chase to the jogger. Given enough leeway and under the right set of circumstances, that aggression may play out as a full-blown attack or mauling.
If you have experienced a dog bite injury or even a non-injury attack by a dog, contact our dog bite attorney right away to discuss your case. California dog owners face strict liability for any injuries that their dogs cause. We can help you hold the dog owner responsible in most cases. Contact us now to schedule a no-cost case consultation.