Lapdog killed by larger dog in Woodside


This is an expanded version of a previously posted story.

Click on picture to enlarge and see caption.

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Zoe, a 5-pound Shih Tzu lapdog and longtime companion to Woodside resident Linda Bleich, is no more.

While Ms. Bleich was taking Zoe and a second Shih Tzu named Anya for a walk at Woodside Elementary School on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 28, a much larger reddish-brown dog, perhaps a pit bull, escaped its owner's control and attacked Zoe and killed her, Ms. Bleich said.

"It happened in a nanosecond," Ms. Bleich said in an interview. "I kicked (the attacking dog) and it didn't feel a thing. ... I was kicking and I felt like I was kicking in slow motion."

It almost didn't happen. "I wanted to (leave) but the kids (her dogs) wanted to go further," she said, recounting the chronology of the incident.

Ms. Bleich had conversed briefly with the man, who was struggling to maintain control of his dog, she said. The dog was 2 years old and had never been outside, the man said. "I don't think he hurts small dogs," he added.

The dog had a huge head, Ms. Bleich said, adding that the owner was a "slight man" in his 60s, balding and wearing a greenish jacket. "The dog was clearly too much for him," she said.

The man had taken a seat, but the dog broke free and pounced on Zoe "in a split second," she said. The man watched the incident unfold, recaptured his dog and walked quickly away to the school parking lot, she said.

"You killed my dog!" Ms. Bleich said to him as he passed her, a whiff of alcohol trailing him. The man didn't turn around but said, "I'm sorry," over his shoulder, Ms. Bleich said.

Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office are looking for this man, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Ray Lunny.

"I cried and I cried and I cried and I almost fainted and threw up," Ms. Bleich said recalling the incident. "I haven't been sleeping. I just wake up every night and it's just a nightmare. She went with me everywhere I went. I talked to her all day long."

"I want her death not to be in vain," she said. The dog's owner "needs to stand up and take responsibility because my dog deserves it."

Zoe has been cremated and his ashes are in Ms. Bleich's home. "When I go, we can go together and rest," she said.

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Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2010 at 11:55 am

This man's behavior is both reprehensible and pathetic. This is an awful incident made worse by him leaving them there and not taking responsibility. Once again, this is a tragedy caused by poor dog handling. I am so sorry for Ms. Bleich's sudden loss of her beloved companion.

Like this comment
Posted by K
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

This happened to my golden puppy 8 years ago when we were walking a pit bull jumped out of nowhere and grabbed my dog by the neck. The owner couldn't control his dog and lots of bystanders were trying to separate the dogs. My dog went into surgery and barely lived. I had to testify in court against the dog's owner who happened to be homeless. They ended up putting his dog down and I had to pay the thousands of dollars for my dog's recovery since he had no money. To this day, I feel traumatized by that experience and actually keep my dog away from other dogs as much as possible. I am so sorry for your loss and I really hope they find this person so his dog can't hurt anyone else.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

K, what a terrifying incident! I am very sorry to hear about it. I am glad that your dog lived. Dog-dog aggression is quite manageable, but one has to know their physical limits with a dog. And of course, it means keeping a dog onleash, which didn't happen in your situation.

I was caring for a friend's pit bull, and she was attacked by a smaller dog while I was walking her. It was a pretty bad scuffle because the other dog's owner was useless and I broke it up. It was at night time, so it was hard to see. This guy had just gotten his dog and was indulging it by letting it run around in Palo Alto offleash. He didn't kick in to take care of this dog's medical bills, and since the dog I was walking was a pretty small pit bull, they were well matched in size. I literally pried his dog's jaw off of the other dog & it was scary. He took off before I could get his info. He was also an older white male. What gives? People get in over their heads with their dogs, without a clue as to the dog's temperament around other dogs.

Like this comment
Posted by K
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

actually my puppy was on a leash and the other dog was on a rope, but I agree completely with you that it is the owner's responsibility. I was lucky that it was at a place where there were a lot of people so I could get help. I am so afraid to walk my dog because people don't keep their dogs on leashes and just let them run right up to you. There should definitely be a fine for those who keep their dogs off leash.

I am sorry to here about your friend's dog as well. OF course they run. They always run when it's their fault.

Like this comment
Posted by Pet Semetary Not Your Favorite Movie?
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Dec 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

[Portion removed]
You're complaint is based upon the concept of 'COMPLETE
CONTROL'. Sometimes dogs are too much for their owners
nad 'CONTROL' is lost, and the larger the dog - the more likely
this will happen.

Pretty soon, lap dog owners will demand that larger canine
species be banned and that only their little 'weiner' dog can
exist, since it is all that matters to them.

Don't let this kind of nonsense turn you upside down. Lapdog's
can be great pets and they can teach you hove to love unconditionally,
but they are not going to be out of harms way so long as larger,
more aggressive varities of the species still exist.

Like this comment
Posted by Donna
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Dec 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm

The fact is dogs are dogs and can react unpredictably on occasion. All large dogs are not aggressive and there are many small ones that are. We've had both large and small dogs in our family over the years and from our own experience the smaller ones were more aggressive. Our very large dog is like an overgrown lap dog and has himself been attacked by a small dog recently while we were on a walk.

I am so saddened by this story. If you're going to choose to own a dog, be a responsible dog owner. That's the bottom line.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

Another aspect that saddens me is that when you're a responsible owner, you do as much as possible to keep your dogs safe & healthy. That can change in just a few moments when someone else is so irresponsible and ignorant about their pet. Who knows? Maybe using pepper spray or a boat horn could have stopped this, but maybe not. The utter cowardice by the other dog owner is completely inexcusable. I truly hope he is found & held accountable.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Dec 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

"The dog had a huge head, Ms. Bleich said, adding that the owner was a "slight man" in his 60s, balding and wearing a greenish jacket. "The dog was clearly too much for him," she said."

I've seen this man walking his dog in the Glens. He used to have 2 pit bulls, but recently he only has been walking one dog. So yes, he has been seen walking his dog(s) in the Glens, definitely pit bulls.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2010 at 9:01 pm

The whole incident is very sad on all parts. I am sad for the owner of the larger dog too. If the dog 'hadn't been outside in 2 years' it was probably a rescue dog that he just saved. The larger dog may have been a pit bull that was forced to fight and thats all it knew. The man didn't mean for his dog to hurt the other and was probably trying to do a good thing giving the larger dog a chance at a home. I understand why he left quickly as his dog would have been put down as well after this incident.
I am very sorry the woman lost her little dog who was her companion. The whole thing is terrible but largest blame should lie with those who use dogs for fighting or get dogs and give them up.
My heart goes out to all involved.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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