Pitbull attack fetches attention

A vicious attack by two pitbulls just inches from a1-year-old child severely injured an Australian Shepherd mix puppy and has police hunting for the dogs’ owner, according to the injured dog’s owner.

Catheryne Nicholson of San Carlos told police she strolled into a children’s park on the 2400 Block of San Carlos Avenue around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday when two unleashed pitbulls viciously attacked her Australian Shepherd mix pupppy named Riley.

“The two dogs had a grip on Riley like the jaws of death,” she said.

Nicholson said she feared the dogs were going to turn on her or her son, so she grabbed at the dogs and strained to yank them off. The owner of the pitbulls, described as a woman in her 40s, rushed to help, but by the time the dogs were on leashes, Riley was unresponsive, Nicholson said.

The puppy survived the attack, but she suffered severe neck injuries that required immediate surgery, Nicholson said.

The owner of the pitbulls disappeared with her dogs, she said.

“I shudder to think of what might have happened if my 1-year-old son had entered the park first,” she said.

Police said the owner of the pitbulls has not come forward.

“We’re out right now knocking on doors and talking to neighbors of the park to see if we can find the owner,” Sgt. Marti Overton said.

An investigator is calling local veterinarians to see if any clients match the dogs’ descriptions. They are also contacting local hospitals, because Nicholson believes Riley may have injured one of the pitbulls in the attack, Overton said.

“We are very concerned that somebody has a dog off the leash that has the propensity for aggression,” Overton said.

She said if police find the owner, the owner would be cited and the case would then be forwarded to the Peninsula Humane Society, which would decide the fate of pitbulls.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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