Ocean City Today

Unleashed dog attack may force policy change at beach

By Brian Gilliland | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Facebook photo

(Nov. 3, 2017) Residents, visitors and guests have long enjoyed the opportunity to take their canine companions to the beach at the Assateague Island National Seashore, but photos that recently surfaced on Facebook could force island officials to rethink that policy.

Two unleashed dogs were photographed last Saturday visibly harassing Susi Sole, one of the island’s 88 resident horses. Because the dogs are wearing collars, it’s reasonable to assume these were owned pets, and not stray animals that wandered onto the island by themselves.

“We really want to remind people it’s a privilege to bring pets into the park,” Liz Davis, Assateague Island spokeswoman said.

The incident remains under investigation by the National Park Service, Davis confirmed.

Pets have long been welcomed onto the island, so long as they are leashed by a tether no longer than six feet.

The fine for an unleashed dog on Assateague is $50, and the park may choose to force a mandatory court appearance, Davis said.

The dogs, one appearing to have its jaws locked on Susi Sole’s left hind leg in a posture clearly indicating a backward “tugging” motion, are not wearing leashes of any kind, even outside of an owner’s grasp.

The extent of the horse’s injuries, if any, are unknown at this time.

Davis said the park did not learn of the incident until Monday, well after it had occurred. She said that only added to the difficulty in investigating the situation. Davis declined to comment on what violations the suspect might be subject to, if found.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the Assateague Island National Seashore at 410-641-1441.

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