Warm Weather Puts People in Danger of Dog Attacks

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- A dangerous warm weather trend has animal control officers on high alert this time of year. More dogs are out in neighborhoods. Some are with owners but more are stray dogs.

What started as a casual stroll through her neighborhood back on May 5 soon turned into a frightful episode for Sharon McKnight of Cedar Rapids.

"I heard this deep, horrendous barking, and it was a German Shepard, and it went right after me and just got into my leg," McKnight said.

She snapped a picture of her wound just after the dog attack while at the hospital.

"I thought, 'Oh, I'm going to be on the news tonight, Woman gets killed for taking her daily walk.' I really thought he was going to kill me," McKnight said.

She survived and the dog is alive too. Friday afternoon at the address McKnight provided, a woman was sitting outside her home grooming a German Shepard. She declined to confirm or deny McKnight's story. McKnight said Animal Control told her the dog owners needed to keep the dogs enclosed, but had 30 days to comply.

"Any dog has the potential to bite, it doesn't matter what breed it is, they all have the potential to bite," Cedar Valley Humane Society Communications Director Jan Clarke said.

Clarke couldn't speak on McKnight's dog attack specifically but said these cases are more common when you have more dogs out enjoying the warm, sunny weather. She said it's the owner's responsibility to make sure the dog isn't a problem.

"Whether the dog is on a leash [or] has a harness on, you want to make sure you don't let your dogs run loose because you're asking for trouble," Clarke said.

McKnight now carries pepper spray. Something she said she needs to feel safe in her own neighborhood. Several calls to Cedar Rapids Animal Control and the officer working on the case Friday were not returned.
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