On Sunday, Nov. 3, two pit bulls attacked a woman and her dog, who were walking on the West County Trail near Ross Road. Jordan Simmons, 28, of Occidental was walking her dog, Lucy, with a friend when they were approached by two pit bulls, loose on the trail without an owner.
The dogs soon began nipping at Simmon’s dog and when Simmons picked her up, the dogs ripped the small dog out of her arms and mauled it to death.
It was a prolonged attack, witnesses said. Simmons was injured in the attack, with bruises and scratches on her legs and torso and a bite on her hand.
“It was literally the most terrifying thing that every happened me,” Simmons said. “I can still hear myself screaming and the sound of my dog screaming and the other dogs’ snarling. It haunts my every second. It’s in my dreams.”
Simmons’ screams attracted the attention of other walkers, who witnessed the attack, but felt powerless to stop it.
Adriana De Luca, one of the witnesses, said she and a friend and several other people gathered near the end of the trail at Ross Road, but were afraid to approach the snarling dogs unarmed.
A neighbor who heard the commotion brought a pickup with tools and other implements in the back.
“My friend grabbed a hammer. Other people grabbed other tools, but then one of the dogs ran straight toward us, and we all jumped in the back of the truck,” De Luca said.
Some of the people in the truck recognized the dog as belonging to a nearby house. De Luca said the truck reversed off the trail and raced to the house, where they found the garage door standing open. The people in the truck yelled, trying to raise the residents. First a woman appeared, then a young man sauntered out.
“He was so casual,” De Luca said. “It’s one of the things that sticks with me, how he was walking so slow.”
“In the meantime,” she said. “The screaming was going on and on.”
By the time the group got back to the head of the trail, a sheriff’s vehicle had arrived and the dogs had run off. They were captured later by animal control.
De Luca said the attack has shaken her to her core.
“It was a difficult moment because we felt really compelled to go help and yet, I have to admit, there was the real fear that we would be attacked. That is what I’m still really trying to work through.”
Simmons said she understands why no one came to her aid during the attack, and she doesn’t blame them.
“It was a terrifying situation,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to feel guilty. I feel guilty enough myself for not being able to protect my dog, but these were vicious dogs and it really wasn’t safe to intervene, unless you had a gun or a baseball bat or something.”
After discussions with animal control, Simmons is concerned that the pit bulls will be released back into the community.
“Because I was only slightly injured in the attack on my dog, animal control said there was nothing they could do, other than label these dogs as ‘potentially dangerous.’” Simmons said. “These are not ‘potentially dangerous’ dogs. These are obviously dangerous dogs.”
When asked if the dogs were going to be released, Rohish Lal, a county public information officer, said the case was still under investigation.