Rottweiler, off leash in Round Valley, attacks runner | ParkRecord.com

Rottweiler, off leash in Round Valley, attacks runner

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

A Rottweiler off a leash attacked a runner in Round Valley on Friday, injuring the woman and prompting the owner of the dog to put it to sleep.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the attack at a little after 10 a.m., Phil Kirk, a Park City Police Department captain, said. Kirk said the woman was running on a trail in the vicinity of Eagle Cove, which is located off Meadows Drive. She was running by herself and came across the Rottweiler. The Park Meadows woman who owns the dog was with the Rottweiler, he said.

Kirk said the dog was outfitted with a shock collar. The dog, though, attacked the woman from the front, biting her on the chest, Kirk said.

Both the Police Department and Summit County Animal Control were contacted afterward. The County Courthouse’s administrative services director, Brian Bellamy, said the owner of the Rottweiler had the dog put down at a local veterinary office. Bellamy’s position oversees Animal Control. Bellamy said the owner was concerned the dog would attack someone else someday.

Bellamy said Monday the investigation is ongoing. He said it could take up to two weeks to finish the investigation and decide whether to file charges against the owner of the dog. There are laws against allowing dogs to run free and allowing dogs to attack someone or another animal.

The attack could spur another round of community discussion about leash laws, canine access to trails and the responsibilities of dog owners. Leash laws are in effect throughout Summit County, but dog owners regularly ignore the law. There have long been disputes about dogs being off leashes on trails, which have been favorite places for the pet owners to let their dogs run without a leash.

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The victim is 52 years old. Her husband, Rick Halliday, said she was on a trail known as La Dee Duh, which connects the Cove neighborhood with a spot called Rademan Ridge in the western reaches of Round Valley. A sprawling tract of undeveloped land, Round Valley is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The scant snowfall this winter has allowed runners and hikers to access Round Valley well beyond their normal season.

Halliday said she saw people in the distance with dogs. One of the dogs ran toward her, he said, describing that the women who owned the dog hollered for her pet to stop. The dog continued at the woman, he said, leaping onto her and biting her. The victim ended up on her knees, he said. She suffered bites to her upper chest and side, Halliday said, as he described that one of the bites punctured the skin. Her coat was ripped, according to Halliday.

The dog then ran away on its own, Halliday said. He said the woman who owned the dog was apologetic afterward. Halliday described the dog as "very aggressive." He said the victim went to Park City Medical Center to have the wounds examined.

The not-for-profit group Mountain Trails Foundation was made aware of the attack. Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the group, said unleashed dogs are commonplace on area trails. He said upward of 85 percent of the people with dogs in Round Valley do not have them on leashes. Attacks are rare, however, he said.

Sturgis said more educational promotions are needed to inform people of the leash laws. He also said dog owners must be held responsible for the actions of their pets.

"This is a simple case of a dog owner not recognizing the seriousness of the behavioral issues of the dog," Sturgis said.