Weeks after a golden retriever puppy was mauled to death by a dog at Mission Dolores Park, the puppy’s owners are demanding the attacker be held responsible.

Luna the golden retriever was just four months old when she was killed at Dolores Park, near 20th Street. Her owner, Matt Rosenberg, explains they were at the park the morning of January 26, when Luna went to sniff a boxer who was not leashed. Dolores Park includes two off-leash areas for dogs to play, but they aren’t fenced off, so unleashed dogs often run freely through the entire space.

Rosenberg says when Luna approached the unleashed boxer, the larger dog went into a frenzy, viciously attacking Luna for several seconds before Rosenberg could get her away. He rushed her to a nearby pet hospital, where Luna died.

He says he’d hoped the owner of the boxer would meet him there, but that owner never turned up. Looking for answers, he posted on Nextdoor and Reddit, and the neighborhood communities quickly identified the dark brown boxer as a female named Rose, and also figured out who the dog’s owner is.  

Rosenberg turned what he’d learned over to the San Francisco Police Department’s Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit. KPIX reports that the two dog owners will now be asked to attend a hearing where the boxer owner could face disciplinary action. That could include something as simple as requiring a leash in public or having to go through training with a certified professional; or it could be something as major as euthanasia.

Boxers are often classified as dangerous or aggressive dogs, so much so that some homeowners insurance policies won’t cover the breed. In 2019, 4% of all fatal dog attacks in the United States involved either boxers or boxer mixes. Animal advocates say thorough training, mindfulness of temperament and behavior, and maintenance of control by the pet owner are crucial with boxers. It appears the dog Luna ran into did not have nearly enough of those qualifications.

Dolores Park requires dogs be leashed in all areas except those specifically designated as not requiring a leash, and that dogs must not be left unattended either way. Still, there have been other reports of attacks at the same park.

Rosenberg says he hopes what happened to Luna will raise awareness about off-leash dogs in that park and the neighborhood overall.

Photo by Koushik Chowdavarapu on Unsplash