Only thick layers of clothing saved a jogger from injury when an unleashed dog attacked her on the grounds of Jamaica Plain's Eliot School Wednesday evening, school Executive Director Abigail Norman reports.
In a posting in the Jamaica Plain Facebook group, an exasperated Norman says she's been seeing more and more dog owners just let their pets run wild in the yard of the school, which runs crafts and fine-arts classes, and which has long let the public use its yard and path:
We at the school have increasingly met with indifference, hostility and even outright aggression when we ask neighbors politely to leash their dogs. Adults have refused to leash their dogs, yelled at us and threatened us. We do have many respectful dog owners, but we increasingly encounter those who appear to have little ability to follow rules or behave nicely.
This is an issue of civility and shared space. It is also a very serious safety issue. We are tempted to banish dogs from our yard, in fear that a truly serious tragedy might take place. However, we do not have the resources at this time to hire a security guard to enforce either a ban or our leash rule.
We must count on you, our neighbors. Please leash your dogs, and, if you see others with dogs off-leash in our yard, please ask them to leash their dogs.
Norman posted the jogger's account of what happened around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday:
[A]s I was jogging from my home on Holbrook St. to go pick up my daughter at the Footlight Club, I was attacked by someone's off-leash dog in the Eliot School yard. Clearly the dog took my running as a threat because it charged me as soon as I entered the gate. Its owner was on her phone quite a distance away and she finally turned around when I started screaming. Had I not been wearing so much clothing, the dog surely would have broken skin in multiple places. The owner wasn't able to get her dog under control initially and it came running at me again for a second attack after eluding its owner. When she finally got its collar, I was so shocked I couldn't speak and just started moving away from them. She didn't ask if I was OK or say sorry and just started speaking sweetly to her dog. I finally said, 'Please leash your dog before I come back through with my daughter in a few minutes,' and, by the time we did, she and the dog were gone.
Dog owners MUST keep dogs leashed in the Eliot School yard. We have a sign reminding visitors of this at each of our three gates. The Eliot School is not a public park. It is private property. The school keeps its yard open as a favor to the neighborhood. We expect neighbors to value this wonderful resource, and to respect both the school and all others who share the space.