To the Editor:
It was a beautiful day last Friday, so around 3 in the afternoon I decided to go for a walk with my five-month-old daughter, Lily, and my wife’s dog, Jake. Jake is the largest Springer Spaniel I have ever seen, but he has the heart of a chicken, as I have seen him get scared of dog statues.
I am 6-feet-tall, I weigh about 160 pounds and I am an extremely active man. Lily was in an air-carrier, which is like a backpack that suspends the baby from the parent’s chest. We were walking down South Walnut Street in West Chester and had just reached Rosedale Avenue when I noticed a few large groups of students approaching (classes had likely just let out), so I hung back to let everyone pass.
No sooner had I stopped, I heard a dog barking. I did not see where it was coming from until it leapt out of the open window of the car we were standing next to. It wound up being an American Bull Terrier, which had been adopted from the pound, according to the responding officer. It is like a pit bull but a bit bigger. The attacking dog went after Jake, who kept running around me trying to hide. This wrapped my legs up in the leash and sent me crashing backwards onto the pavement. The whole time I was screaming for the owner to get his dog. But he did not seem to be in any hurry to get out of his car. There was almost nothing I could do, aside from kick at the dogs, as any attempt to grab one would have put my infant daughter between the dog and I.
The owner eventually got out and tried to pull his dog off of Jake, which he was not able to do as his dog had locked right onto Jake’s face. Two students rushed in and helped pull the dog off, which the owner then put back in the car. His dog ran across the back seat, leapt out the still-open window and began tearing into Jake again. This time four or five students jumped in and helped drag the dog off of Jake, while other students called the police. The net result would end up being a few bruises for me, a night in the doggy ER getting stitched up for Jake and minor dislocations of the elbow, wrist, neck and pelvis for Lily.
The point of this letter is not to demand new dog laws or criticize those in place, I am well aware of how something like this could never be prevented by a law. I am also not trying to scare anyone away from our town, which I believe is a wonderful, safe place to raise a family. The purpose of this letter is to say “thank you” to all of the students who selflessly got involved to help.
The few students that go to WCU and create the drunken issues that we constantly hear about seem to get all of the press, while folks like this are forced to live under an undeserved cloud. Those people who helped pull the dog off could very well have had this animal turn right back on them. To put one’s self in the way of danger in a situation like this takes a strong heart, a sense of community and concern for one’s neighbors and fellow man.
After last Friday, it is obvious to me that there are many more students who fall into this more admirable second group then into that unfortunate minority that so many of us tend to dwell on. I would say that the help I received easily outweighs the few bushes I have lost or the occasional piece of trash I must pick out of my front yard.
So again, to everyone who helped my daughter, my dog and I; called the police; waited to give witness testimony or were just nice enough to ask if we were okay, thank you.
Member, Neighborhood Task Force