Man, dog attacked by dogs, left with bills |

Man, dog attacked by dogs, left with bills

Christina Proctor

Mel VanPelt had never been afraid of dogs. A morning walk Feb. 23 changed the 70-year-old’s mind.

VanPelt was walking his toy poodle, Tory, and terrier mix, Amber. The trio would occasionally run into loose dogs on their morning constitutional, but a stern yell and warning usually sent them on their way. As VanPelt turned onto Susie Lake Road from the busier Glenwood Way around 9:30 a.m., he felt a solid object strike his shoulder, knocking him to the pavement. When he looked up two rottweilers were attacking Tory.

“One of them had him by the throat. I got on him and got my hand under his lip to make him release, then out of the corner of my eye I saw the other dog come for me. I think it was going for my throat, I turned my face and it bit me in the cheek,” VanPelt said. “I’m lucky I had my gloves on. One of them ripped my pants’ leg off me. I just kept hitting the dog trying to get him to let go of my poodle. They were trying to rip his guts out.”

The terrifying experience ended when VanPelt landed a kick on the nose of one of the dogs, and forced them both back by launching hunks of ice from the side of the roadway. But before it was over, Tory suffered 14 puncture wounds. VanPelt was left with a puncture wound to his face and bites on his index finger and thumb.

“The dogs were probably out in the meadow. They came over a snow berm and launched themselves at me. You could really see the fire in their eyes. It was terrible,” he said. “I always see a lot of dogs loose, and they’re always big ones. Never have I seen any that vicious.”

VanPelt rushed his dogs home. His wife called El Dorado Animal Control and Tory was rushed to a veterinarian.

The rottweilers were captured soon after the attack, near the VanPelts’ home on Glenwood Way. Even though the dogs obviously were someone’s pets, no one claimed them and they were destroyed. Animal control officers said the owners’ initial neglect in failing to keep their dogs confined caused the attack, and their failure to take responsibility victimized VanPelt again. Tory’s vet bills have mounted to around $400, and VanPelt said the dog is still undergoing treatment.

“I’d sue them if I could find them,” VanPelt said. “It’s not the money so much, it’s the fact that it should not have happened in the first place. They should not have had the dogs running loose.”

VanPelt still walks his dogs in the mornings, but now he’s armed with deterrent – pepper spray.

“I definitely won’t let any dog get close anymore,” he said.

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