Terror at Dorchester park when unleashed dog pack runs amok

The Dorchester Reporter interviews a woman who says she was walking her leashed dog at Victory Road Park near the gas tank when an unleashed pack of dogs attacked first her pet and then her:

At this point I realized that she was about to be disemboweled and I had to do something. I started kicking the dogs as hard as I could and the dog "Bailey" looked up and grabbed my right pant leg. He shook it momentarily and at that point it occurred to me that if I were to fall to the ground my dog, my unborn baby, and myself would be killed.

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    I think the worst part is:

    Unfortunately, says McNamara, State Police— who have jurisdiction at the park—did not respond to her 911 call from the scene that day.

    So there was a pack of aggressive dogs roaming a public park, and the police chose to ignore it? Shameful.

    Another item of note is that McNamara had a border collie. Border collies aren't wimps- they're pretty feisty!

    Dog Owners

    need to realize that they have to actually supervise their dogs. Off-leash or not, a pitbull mix is going to be trouble, and needs to be watched carefully.

    I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I was walking through a park, not a specialized dog park, just a human park, and two enormous dogs, chasing a stick that their owner threw near me while i was just minding my business and walking through on a concrete path, literally ran into me and knocked me to the ground. I was bleeding from two knees and one hand. the owner saw this and literally ran away with his dogs as fast as he could, before I could even attemot to get his contact info.

    I hope this woman sues and I hope this lowlife pitbull mix owner has to pay. She sounds like a real pig.

    It's not breed, it's upbringing

    For about the umpteenth millionty time....for both people and dogs, it is not the breeding, it is the upbringing that grossly affects how they act.

    If we can stop tromping all over pitbulls and their mixes, that'd be great. My favorite dog is a pit mix, and she is superbly well trained, well behaved, and a total lover. Case in point: at a very large outdoor party at my house, it was a Lab mix that antagonized this pit mix and started a barking snarling fight with her, while she was tail wagging and wanting to play.

    I'm truly sorry to hear that this woman and her dog were attacked. I hope other dog owners will be wary of that space, the dog walkers will clean up their slack act, and the court system spanks the offending dog owner (for the attack, not for the ownership of the breed).

    Pack Mentality

    Another point is that dogs that are not normally aggressive when alone will show more aggression when in a pack of other dogs. These dog walkers with 8-12 dogs should not be allowing the dogs to run free like that. I wonder if their customers are aware of this practice,since they could be held legally responsible for their dog's actions along with the dog walkers.

    Yep

    I use a dog walker occasionally when I know I won't be able to take my dog for her long walk of the day, and I'd be PISSED to find out he had 12 other dogs with him. My mutt is not small and has some pit bull in her somewhere (she's a southern rescue, and 99% of those have some pibble in 'em) but she's a marshmallow and is regularly bullied by my neighbor's Westie.

    I understand dog walking doesn't pay that well and I don't expect the princess treatment but 12 is too many dogs for any one person to handle at a time, on leash or off.

    Off Leash

    My dog goes there 2x a week among the other Off Leash activities i do with my dog. I pay extra for him to have this chance to socialize with a lot of other dogs.

    Anti-social dogs are a result of anti-social owners. Your dog isn't special.... let it play with other dogs!

    "Anti-social dogs are a

    "Anti-social dogs are a result of anti-social owners."

    This is really untrue. Yes, some dogs have behavior problems stemming from poor socialization but other dogs (just like some people) are uncomfortable, anxious, or aggressive around other dogs through no fault of the owner. Having been the owner of a very reactive/aggressive dog I can tell you that no amount of training or socialization can "cure" these symptoms in some cases. Especially these days when many people have rescued dogs from situations where they have not been raised with appropriate socialization, there is only so much owners can do.

    It is the responsibility of ALL dog owners to know your own dog and to keep them and other dogs and people safe. If your dog is off-leash, it better respond immediately to voice-command, and pay attention to it! I would never let my dog off leash because he was unpredictable and became aggressive when he felt threatened but so many times other people's dogs would come charging up to us, setting up an unfair power balance for the leashed vs. unleashed dogs which only worsened the situation. Clueless owners would say "my dog is friendly!" as if that was the only factor in the equation. Again... if you let your dog off-leash, you need to have VERY GOOD verbal control, for the safety of your own dog and others.

    Thanks for the advice

    She goes to daycare twice a week, where she can choose to interact with the other dogs or hang out in one of the crates for some alone time. What I don't want is her in a tangle of leashes with a bunch of other dogs, or being set upon by a bunch of off-leash dogs while she is ON leash. That's what really freaks her out.

    dogs

    As someone who grew up with family dogs and a dog lover (but not presently a dog owner), I have to say that while I agree that "bad" breeds can be trained not to be "bad," and that asshole owners are the source of most problems, people who insist that certain breeds aren't anymore aggressive or prone to taking a chunk out of someone than other breeds are kidding themselves.

    The only reason domestic dogs all don't look like dingos is because humans have spent hundreds and hundreds of years of selecting certain traits and breeding for them. But before we bred the beloved fuzzy freakshow of different shapes and sizes we currently have, we probably selected for dogs that wouldn't eat our children, so at the core I think most dogs can be taught to not be aggressive and take off anyone's face. But certain breeds have been selected in the more recent past for the fight they got in them. I think pitbulls require really great owners to make sure they don't fall back on their instincts, especially when it comes to strangers.

    Although in this particular case it sounds like we're just dealing with two-legged assholes.

    I would do a little research

    I would do a little research and not just in news articles.

    Dogs were forced to fight one another to the death in hidden arenas called “pits.” The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was highly successful in the fighting ring because of its tenacity, courage, stamina, strength and intelligence. Equally important was its loyal, non-aggressive and responsive nature with people; fighting dogs were expected to be obedient, trustworthy and easily handled by their owners at all times.

    http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Dog-Breed-Center/Terri...

    Dog fanciers...

    ...are not exactly an unbiased source. Nor are people whose living is breeding and selling the dogs they love.

    Flamed by poorly-researched, inflammatory media reports, the Pit Bull’s (and thus the Am Staff’s) reputation as a vicious, unmanageable and dangerous breed is undeserved. Well-bred and well-raised Pit Bulls are bright, kind, highly trainable and exceptionally gentle with children, family and other animals. The occasional dog that harms people probably was poorly bred, poorly socialized and poorly trained; it also probably was chained, illegally fought or otherwise abused by an unscrupulous owner.

    I can agree with that almost entirely, but all the "probably"'s in that last sentence is just as bad as someone saying "they're all monsters and should be euthanized." I don't know where they got their information from, particularly the part you quote. But "they have a keen knack for quickly discriminating between people who mean well and those who do not" strikes me as a bit of a reach. I think dogs in general have the potential for that capacity not just this particular breed. And as always, training and a competent owner are what make the difference.

    But certain breeds have been

    But certain breeds have been selected in the more recent past for the fight they got in them. I think pitbulls require really great owners to make sure they don't fall back on their instincts, especially when it comes to strangers.

    Don't blame the pitbulls because assholes own them. All dogs have in it them to become vicious if the owners allow it. And I would like to know where it's been proven that certain breeds are more vicious or more prone to attack then others.

    blaming dogs?

    Uh...I'm not "blaming" dogs. If a breed has been bred for a certain look and behavior, the only place where "blame" comes in is for the humans that bred that species over generations to exhibit that behavior. And for particular instances of a dog attack, more often than not you can blame the asshole owners who have not properly trained their dog. I'm not on a Pitbull pogrom here.

    If you can accept that certain breeds have been bred for certain behaviors, I don't see how you can deny that for a breed, not an individual, a behavior such as aggression in response to other animals/dogs or aggression towards people not known to them can be more prevalent in one breed than another. Your question sent me spiraling through a bunch of academic papers and there is no one study that comes out and says "Pitbulls are more vicious than any other breed," but certain breeds do come out as more aggressive in certain ways than other breeds.

    Actually Chihuahuas apparently rate much higher than Pitbulls in their aggression towards both people and other dogs. Pitbulls ranked very high in their aggression towards other dogs, but in the middle in regards to people. Which makes sense when you think of what they were originally bred for -- fighting other animals or dogs. And obviously one bad instance with a Pitbull makes more of a dent in the news cycle than someone going a few rounds with a Chihuahua. Again, because of the physical traits of the dog that were selected by humans.

    At the end of the day I agree with you that the behavior of any particular dog depends in large part on how the owner has trained/raised it. But just because I like pitbulls or own one doesn't mean I'm going to pretend that biology doesn't play into this. When you hear people say "Oh, Labradors are so good with kids." Do you tell them "No they aren't - that one just had a good owner."

    Further reading: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159108001147

    This story is garbage.

    I happen to know the people involved in this article and if you knew how ridiculously embellished and exaggerated this story is, you would be embarrassed you even wasted your time commenting. The dog wasn't a pitbull, not even a pitbull mix, the woman literally just made that up, because if you knew the dog in question, you would know that it's not even possible to mistake it for a pitbull, unless you are telling an overly dramatized story that keeps getting more and more absurd and far from the truth as you re-tell it. Not only did she go out of her way to abuse an overused stereotype of pitbulls being aggressive to make this story seem more tragic, but it totally undermines the credibility of everything else she claims occurred that day, including the fact that she thought was going to be killed. If a few off-leash dogs behaving like animals, which is what they are at the end of the day and even the best behaved dogs can sometimes act unpredictably, well if that is the worst thing going on in Dorchester right now I guess things are pretty safe. It's a shame that this story was even published and deemed newsworthy considering there are real people experiencing actual trauma and loss in their lives.

    Victory Rd Dog Park

    I can relate to the lady who was at the Victory Rd "dog park" with her dog.
    I went there once within the last 2 weeks and thankfully there were two people there with their dogs who forewarned me about the "dog walkers" and the herds of dogs there...My experience was similar to hers...
    These dog walkers are like a cult...they stand around and chit chat and the dogs go wild
    arrogant bunch they are...thank God I do not pay someone to take my dog to a "dog park" all day

    This isn't a kennel- it's a

    This isn't a kennel- it's a public park. Go rent a vacant lot and let them run it off. Or if these professional dog walkers want to use a public space this way, they should pay the state a significant fee for that right. As the article points out, they're not supposed to have more than 3 dogs per person in the first place.

    Have you been there??

    That part of Victory Park SHOULD BE EXCLUSIVELY FOR DOGS ANYWAYS!!! It's a dump... most of the patrons go there with their dogs

    WE DO PAY THE STATE... it's called PROPERTY TAX, STATE INCOME TAX, SALES TAX etc....

    A bunch of short sighted, ignorant, narrow minded morons commenting here.

    All the stupidity in the commenters here should make all of us dog-owners CAMPAIGN TO FORMALIZE VICTORY PARK AS AN OFF LEASH DOG PARK.

    Tenean Beach

    Is very close to this public park and continues to have some of the poorest water quality of all Boston Harbor beaches. I wonder if there is any correlation?
    Is it really wise to have an off-leash shit hole on the harbor?

    you call OTHER people stupid?

    and yet you have an unleashed dog within the city limits. Read the law, Einstein. You want verdant meadows with room to run dogs? Move to Vermont. You want a dog in Boston, the dog and you have to be physically connected in public. All the time. Period. Sheesh.

    Let's not call this a park....

    I have two dogs. A few years ago, I used to bring them to Victory Road for off-leash running in the evenings. I'm surprised to see it described as a "lovely, passive waterfront setting " - its just an overgrown lot next to the highway. There aren't even any walking paths - aside from the worn, dirt paths that people have trampled down between the weeds. I've seen people engaged in all sorts of sketchy behavior there and basically stopped going because of the broken beer bottles and fear for my safety (it's a really isolated spot if no one else is there with you). I'm happy to see that the dog people are using it though - that should keep away the unsavory characters.

    Go down the road a bit to Pope John Park to walk your dogs - leave the dog people that use Victory Road in peace - they're using an area that no one else would use.

    This is a DCR Park!

    and no dogs are allowed off leash at any time!
    Also, commercial businesses that want to use DCR property need to apply for a permit to use the space, which the professional dog walkers do not do.
    The only reason the park has become so disgusting is because of all the dogs, leashed or not. Many years ago, I used to enjoy sitting on one of the benches on the well established stone dust paths or loved doing my xctry skiing in the winter. But the amount of dog feces has made that a place that I do not go to anymore.

    I agree. No dogs!

    I agree, dogs are a nuisance in the city. Noise, dog crap all over the sidewalk, plastic bags full of dog doo left all over the place and also the danger of getting attacked.

    Ban dogs in Boston!!!

    Dogs aren't the problem

    Dogs aren't the problem stupid people are so let's ban stupid people too. While we are at it let's ban ignorant people, litterbugs and people who chew with their mouths open.

    Goofball.....

    You're an idiot.... "Ban Dogs".... take a step back and listen how dumb you sound. Do you think your idea would ever have traction?

    Make a suggestion that has some logic an reason behind it!

    How many dog attacks happen in the city every year? How many people are attacked by other people? Ban People in Boston?????

    You are a moron...

    People should clean up the dog poo... 100% yes... but "Ban Dogs".... in a city full of stupid liberals you want to limit personal rights to owning a dog...

    Compromise

    Ok, how about every dog in city limits must be muzzled and on a leash while outside. Any canine found without muzzle or leash will be confiscated and humanely destroyed. Badabing, everyone wins.

    Good idea!

    And ban all autos because people are getting run over.
    And ban all bikes because pedestrians have been hit by crazy cyclists.
    And ban all black people because a black dude killed someone.
    And ban all white people because a white dude killed someone.
    And Segways, and skateboards, and cats, and dogs, and Fillipinos, and short people, and Republicans, and Democrats, and guys named SulDog....

    Better still, if you can't live in a society, move to Alaska and live on your 200 acres so that you never run into anybody again.

    The article says they argued

    The article says they argued over whether it was an off-leash park.

    But it doesn't matter whether leashes are required, nor whether the dog was on a leash. If your dog bites someone, you're responsible.