Dog Team Attack
Last week, a friend of mine took a walk with his wife and six-month old retriever puppy on a multi-purpose recreation trail on the east side of Anchorage. The trail is open to all non-motorized users, including mushers and hikers alike. My friend commonly encounters mushers on this particular trail. Typically, he and his pooch stand off of the trail to let the musher past. Hellos are exchanged, and that is that.
This particular walk was different. When a team rounded a bend, my buddy, his wife, and their pup moved about five feet off of the trail. However, when the team approached, the two lead dogs did not continue down the trail; they veered off and attacked my buddy and his dog. They were caught off guard. Both were pinned and repeatedly bitten before my friend could finally fight off the dogs and pull his puppy free.
The musher blamed my friend for being "stupid enough to use the trail" and refused to give his name. He did not attempt to stop the attack when it happened, but rather watched and yelled obscenities at my friend and his wife.
I recognize that I personally witnessed nothing, but my friend's story is credible. He's a good guy, and I saw the bruises on his hands and lacerations on his pup's belly. All this leads me to ask a question and make one comment. First, I wonder whether incidents like this more common than one would expect. Is this a freak accident, or does this kind of thing happen from time to time. Second, if you use multipurpose recreational trails in Anchorage to mush your team, please ensure you have control of your dogs. My friend is okay, but very thankful that he did not have a small child with him.
And how 'bout Lance, eh? The guy is a stud.
Well I am sorry to here that your friend encountered a not so nice musher.
I used to encounter people with dogs all the time and never had a problem like this with my team or any other teams that I encountered. Loose dogs occasionally caused problems but never leashed ones, and I always broke up any fight.
How terrible and how scary. Occasionally when passing a team, with our own teams, we will run into someone who has "alligators", dogs that will try to bite as we are passing. That is not cool and we yell at the dogs and the other mushers. But the best thing to do is just get on by so they can't engage. It's a very rare occurrence. The musher may not have been able to hook his team down securely enough for him to be able to get off the sled. Then the whole team would have been in the fray. Perhaps he was trying to get his team "on by". Not really trying to stick up for someone who doesn't have control over his team but trying to make sense of some of it. Glad your friend and his puppy will be all right. That poor little thing.