SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A golden retriever puppy was attacked and killed by an off-leash boxer at Dolores Park in the Mission District last month, according to her owners, who want justice. They hope to raise awareness about off-leash dogs in the neighborhood, so this kind of tragedy doesn’t happen again.
Luna loved runs on the beach and snuggling with her owners. The 4-month-old golden retriever was out for a walk on January 26, at 7:20 am, when she crossed paths with an off-leash boxer near 20th and Dolores Streets.
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“Still had her on a leash, she went to sniff the other dog and frenzy attack – probably lasted 5 seconds,” said owner Matt Rosenberg. “I lifted my dog up, put her in my arms and started to walk away with her. I thought the incident was over. She was screaming and yelping, and she was unresponsive in my arms.”
Luna died from internal injuries or a heart attack, according to Rosenberg. He rushed her to a nearby pet hospital, where he hoped the boxer’s owner would meet him. He was a no-show.
But hundreds of commenters on Nextdoor and Reddit helped Rosenberg identify the owner in a matter of days. He then gave the name to San Francisco police.
“The unfortunate thing is we don’t really have a lot of confidence in accountability in this case. We think that ultimately it’ll be okay, this dog wear a muzzle, maybe go to a behaviorist, but the owner really won’t be held accountable,” he said.
SFPD’s Vicious and Dangerous Dog unit told KPIX 5 the two parties and witnesses will be asked to attend a hearing. The officer has the authority to implement restrictions including euthanizing the dog, sending the dog to a professional trainer, or requiring the dog wear a 3-foot leash in public.
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“I would love to see every dog on a leash. I get scared when they’re loose up there catching the balls,” said dog owner Yolanda Vasquez.
Vasquez said her chihuahua’s leg was injured just last week around the park, after she snapped at a bigger dog.
“I would not feel comfortable walking with my dog in Dolores Park right now just with dogs off-leash,” said Rosenberg.
While there are two designated off-leash areas, KPIX 5 observed many dogs roaming freely throughout Dolores Park, Tuesday evening.
Rosenberg plans to attend the upcoming hearing.
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“Ultimately, nothing can really bring the dog back but some sort of restitution or something,” he said. “It would be nice to even hear from the owner like an apology or anything.”