Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Dog Attack

       On June 16th 2012, Amy Surrette and I began our run from Bethel Baptist Church at precisely 6am according to my watch with the intentions of enjoying a long day of running. We were proceeding easterly on Grassy Island Road in the left hand lane facing traffic. After approximately 1.5 miles around 6:15 am we heard a dog barking and observed a large hound dog on the right hand side of the road near the  edge of the woods just before the intersection of Bethany Rd. As we got closer I begin to talk to the dog in a calm friendly manner calling him a good dog and he seemed to respond in a friendly matter. He approached us with his tail wagging and quit barking so we assumed he was friendly and was just going to run along with us. I was closest to him and Amy was to my left near the shoulder of the road. The dog circled behind me and then suddenly charged up behind Amy and bit her hard on the the upper left thigh. I immediately jumped between her and the dog and began yelling at him to get away but he was standing his ground. I began to search around for a stick or rock or anything on the side of the road to use as a weapon but there was nothing there when he suddenly charged me and gave me a hard bite on the upper outside of my right thigh.
At that time as I was trying to fend him off, a slightly smaller chocolate brown mixed breed dog joined in the battle. Fortunately two other smaller dogs were keeping their distance. At first I had just been angry but now I knew that things could take a much more serious turn for the worse. The two dogs were engaging in typical pack dog tactics of having one come to the front while the other tried to attack from the side or rear so I was doing all I could to keep an eye one both of them. The brown dog came at me and as I tried to scare him away the hound once along lunged and gave me another hard bite on the upper left thigh and then retreated. My fear now was making sure I stayed on my feet or I would have probably died  or been mauled badly soon after. Sure enough the brown dog moved in again but this time I was able to land a solid right hand punch to the side of his face which seemed to take away his desire  to fight and he retreated far enough away that I was confident to give my full attention to the hound. The hound charged once more but I was ready and just as he nicked my right leg I was able to grab him around the throat with both hands. As I held on to him his attitude changed to fear as he struggled to get away and unfortunately before I could choke the devil dog to death his collar slipped off and I lost my grip and he ran away and finally the owner who I had not seen at all since I had my back turned to the house which was about 50yds away. I think this is what I find most disturbing about the whole ordeal. Why was he not running out and calling the dog during the whole time I was in battle with his two dogs?  I estimate the total time of the fight was about 2 minutes from the first bite on Amy until the owner controlled the dog. At least he did apologize for it happening and when he asked if there was anything he could do for us I just told him yes, to please make sure he restrained the dog for the remainder of the day.
      I then examined my wounds and found huge bites on both legs. There were several deep punctures that were oozing subcutaneous material so I could tell that they were indeed serious. I also had a small one tooth bite on my wrist just below my right thumb from him trying to bite me when I had him around the neck.
Once I finally decided to quit my day and go to the emergency room I was treated by scrubbing and then irrigating the wounds. The ER nurse showed me how far she was able to insert the catheter into a couple of the punctures and it was over an inch on one and a half inch on a couple of others. I was also given an IV of fluid and a IV dose of Unasyn, a high powered antibiotic. The Dr. did not apply any stitches to the wounds because the risk of the high risk of trapping infection inside so for the past two days I have been oozing blood through the dressings which I change about 3 times a day as well as through my clothes and at night through the sheets and mattress cover on my bed. I will be taking an oral antibiotic for 10 days and I have a follow up dr appt on Tuesday to make sure that it is healing properly and not getting infected.


Frank Lilley said...

This is so scary from several perspectives. But most disturbing is the reactions of the owner.

I understand this dog has bitten at least two other runners. Why on earth would the dog not be kept in a pen? They had one because the dog was in the pen the rest of the day and night.

And why didn't he run down ASAP to assist you and Amy?

I believe the dog should now be in quarantine for a number of days to verify he doesn't have rabies. Has this been verified?

Joey . . . I'm so sorry this happened to you and Amy. I know it totally messed up your plan for 100 miles. I pray everything will heal properly for both of you.

Stephanie said...

Joey, this is just awful to read. I got chills just reading this encounter. I don't understand this irresponsible type of dog ownership. I hope for a speedy recovery for you and I hope there is something that can legally be done about these dogs as there is no telling if this was their first OR their LAST attack.

Anonymous said...

I was "enganged" by a couple of dogs on my country route once and it was a totally helpless and terrifying experience. I was not bitten but mentally traumatized. I run with pepper spray now and feel much more comfortable. However, after about 6 months of running confidently with my pepper spray I once again had an encounter. I stood my ground and pulled the trigger. NOTHING came out. Again I was not bitten. Lessoned learned: Pepper spray cartridges obvioulsy loose their compression so I renew if the date expires. I hope you heal well mentally and physically.
Brian Lankford

Anonymous said...

Joey: I am so sorry this happened to your and Amy. Triple F could not had said it better. Also, he should pay for any and all costs associated with the attack. Further, I would call Animal Control to patrol the area and inform them of these dogs.

Having been attacked by a dog at 12 years old, I am terrified of them regardless of their size. Once the owner introduces me and I see they are nice, then I am ok with them. But even then, such as with my parents dog yesterday, if I get a strange look from them, I am very nervous. This is my biggest nemesis and why I do not run trails by myself nor unfamiliar neighborhoods. I am too afraid.

Wishing you two a quick recovery.


trailruntim said...

Remind me to take my Glock if I do this run in the future.

Anonymous said...


I am so sorry this happened to you and Amy. Agreeing with everything Triple F said, I would further require the owner to pay for any and all costs associated with said attack. AND, I would call Animal Control to patrol the area, making them aware of these dogs.

At 12 years old, I was viciously attacked by a dog. My fear of these animals is intense. Never do I run trails or unfamiliar neighborhoods by myself. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on owners to obey the leash laws and to control their pets.

Wishing you and Amy a quick recovery.


Jason said...

These stories always put my hair up on end, and I hope the best for your quick recovery! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a pretty horrible experience.I'm glad you and Amy are doing ok. I would be wary of just allowing the owner not do something drastic to restrain those dogs. It might be a good idea to report this to the police to followup on. You got lucky, but what if the next time it is a little kid running by there?

runjoey said...

animal control was notified and have been out to the home. we intend to follow up and do what ever we can to keep that dog from ever being loose again.

Chris Johnson said...

The word travelled during the race about someone being attacked by a dog. That adds some stress to running out there overnight next year. Maybe a fresh can of mace will replace my gel?
Recover quickly!

David said...

Most dog owners of this kind of offending dog pack are getting a vicarious pleasure of aggression in these cases. That is the dogs are getting away with what they(master/owner) cannot directly do.
The owner should be on the legal hook just as much as if he were carelessly target shooting and "accidentally" put a couple rounds into your leg. Actually there was more danger of infection.

In the amount of time that has elapsed I would hope that the owner has had to cover medical expenses and had the dogs destroyed or at least required to be contained at court order subject to destruction if found on public property again. The pack-like behavior allowed/encouraged by the human master is particularly worrisome.
In my experience it would be better if Police or Wildlife Protection officers were involved since I had business with Animal Control who seemed to be PETA types.

Chris Johnson said...

I finished my firt Ultra that night and had you guys in my thoughts. I have debated getting Pepper Spray in regards to coming this year and finally ordered some. If nothing else it would be a comfort when it gets dark.