ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Several residents in Benton Park West said they’re thinking twice about walking their dogs in the neighborhood after multiple attacks by off-leash dogs.
Sophie Lawson said her concerns started nearly two years ago after moving in. In September of 2017, Lawson said she was walking her two dogs, Clemmy and Boston, when an off-leash dog began mauling Clemmy. Eventually, the dog was able to break away but was taken to the hospital where she later died.
“It was the worst experience I’ve had to go through,” Lawson said.
Two weeks ago, she said those same emotions came flooding back.
She said her dog sitter was walking Boston when another off-leash dog started attacking.
Lawson said the dog sitter had to throw Boston over a fence to get her to safety. She was taken to an animal hospital and treated for puncture wounds. Down the street, another neighbor declined an on-camera interview with News 4 but said his dog was mauled by two off-leash dogs one week later. The owner said he was also bitten on the hand while trying to get his dog out of harms way.
A few miles away in Tower Grove East, Kelsey Zalasky said she’s still wondering what happened to the off-leash dog that attacked and killed her dog, Maggie, on Thanksgiving.
“I’ll never ever get over it, the blood, the sound the helplessness that I felt.”
According to the city of St. Louis, all dogs must be leashed when off the owner’s property, excluding dog parks. In Missouri, dog owner’s are liable for injuries on public property.
After each attack, owners said they called Animal Care and Control and filed reports with the Citizen’s Service Bureau but are still waiting for answers.
News 4 reached out to the St. Louis City Health Department, which oversees Animal Control. Officials said the two dogs involved in the most recent attack are in a shelter.
During an assessment period, the city will decide if they will be deemed dangerous. The city said they are increasing the number of Animal Control officers in the Benton Park and Tower Grove East neighborhoods to prevent future attacks.