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Letter: A hard lesson about pet safety

I read with sad interest about the attack on a dog belonging to a reader in the Sept. 19 issue of the Valley Sun.

One of our Chihuahua-mix dogs was also attacked about three weeks ago. Our backyard is surrounded by six-foot-high fencing and is also lighted at night.

In our case, we believe that the predator was a bobcat. I happened to have heard the cat-fight-like sound of the assault around 9 p.m., when it occurred. I rushed to our backyard and, I believe, interrupted it. Bobcats have been observed from time to time in our neighborhood, and one was seen strolling down our street the morning after our dog was attacked.

Our dog sustained three broken ribs, had a 3-inch gash on her left side, another in her arm pit, multiple bite wounds, had to have a blood transfusion due to serious blood loss, and then chest reconstruction. The veterinary surgeon said that without our dog’s strong will to live, she would have died. She has recovered pretty well, but we are still dealing with some bite wounds that haven’t quite healed. The costs that we have incurred would buy a fairly nice, late-model used car.

Following the attack, we contacted all the governmental and private agencies to which one would normally turn. Although they were somewhat sympathetic, none was willing to do anything to try to trap the animal or provide much assistance.

Since the attack, we do not allow our dogs to go out at dusk or later without one of us accompanying them, and we do not let them out during the day unless we are around the house to keep an eye on them.

Prior to this incident, we used to read such stories in the Valley Sun and didn’t pay them much heed. We tended to think that they were just anomalies. We have learned our lesson and hope that other La Cañadans and their pets may benefit from our hard experience.

Robert Cato
La Cañada Flintridge