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Woman attacked by unleashed dog while hiking with grandchildren

Anna Cote received 12 stitches after a dog she thought to be a pit bull lunged at her on the hiking trail

By Steve Whitmore
The Keene Sentinel

It all happened so fast. She’d hiked this trail many times before without any problems. But not this time.

This time, the Peterborough grandmother said she suffered severe bites requiring more than a dozen stitches when she was attacked by an unleashed dog. It happened Sunday, she said, while she was hiking the Beebe trail at Temple Mountain State Reservation, with her small dog and her four grandchildren.

Anna Cote, 54, called Temple-Greenville police to the scene that day at around 4:34 p.m., after she had struggled back down the trail to the parking lot at the reservation, according to Temple-Greenville Police Chief James McTague. The four grandchildren were not injured, Cote said.

But Milo, her 5-year-old Pomeranian/chow mix, suffered two dog bites because he jumped into the fray, Cote said.

“I’ve hiked trails all around this area, and I’ve never had anything like this happen before,” Cote said at her Peterborough home Thursday afternoon. “We have to catch these people because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anybody else.”

McTague said his department receives several dog bite reports annually, but “nothing like this.”

“It’s a tough case,” he said. “The situation, as you might imagine, was chaos. I don’t know how she broke free, but she did. She made it back down to the parking lot and called 911.”

Cote said she was hiking back down the Beebe trail with Milo and her grandchildren when a man and a woman approached from the opposite direction with what she believes were three pit bulls. McTague could not confirm the dogs were pit bulls, but did say Cote was convinced they were. The people and the dogs have not been located, he said.

“I know a pit bull when I see one,” Cote said. “... They were pit bulls.”

The man’s dog was on a leash, but the woman’s two dogs were not, she said, and they lunged at Cote. She tripped and fell to the ground, and one of the dogs bit her deeply around her calf.

The man with the leashed dog finally grabbed the unleashed dogs around their heads and held them fast to the ground in a headlock, Cote said. This allowed her to break free and scramble down the trail with her group. It took at least 10 minutes to reach the parking lot, she said.

“It happened all so fast,” Cote said. “I was in shock. I didn’t even feel the pain until they started cleaning my wounds at the emergency room.”

Cote suffered bite marks on the front and backside of her right leg, while Milo — who had jumped into the battle — was bitten on his back in two areas. Both injuries required stitches, she said.

Cote was initially treated in the parking lot by members of Wilton’s ambulance service and then taken to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough.

Milo, who was bleeding profusely, was rushed to an emergency veterinarian in Manchester. He was treated for his bites and released.

Since Sunday, Cote has received six rabies shots and one tetanus shot, and has two more rabies shots planned for today. She said Thursday she was losing feeling in her foot.

The Temple Mountain State Reservation is a popular hiking spot, attracting people from all over the state, McTague said.

“There’s hiking trails all over this area,” he said. “They come from all over the mountain into several jurisdictions.” He said the parking lot is under the jurisdiction of the Peterborough Police Department, but the trail where the incident occurred is under his department’s jurisdiction.

McTague was not optimistic about the investigation, but did say police are checking with registered dog owners in the area. Two of his officers walked the same trail Sunday but found nothing, he said. They ran all the license plates on the vehicles in the parking lot the same day to no avail.

“I don’t like to put percentages on the investigation (succeeding),” he said. “We will investigate as far as we can. We won’t close it.”

But Cote is convinced this has happened before with these same dogs and owners. She declined to say why she believes that, but wanted to put the word out so somebody might come forward. She said she thought she recognized them.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else, and I think it has,” she said. “Please help us catch these people. We have to.”

Copyright 2017 The Keene Sentinel

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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