Local News

Runner Survives Two Dog Attacks In Three Months

Posted May 2, 2006

— Mary Gill, who lives in Oxford and works with children at a Raleigh gym, never dreamed she would have been attacked by pit bulls twice in the last three months.

"I'm scared to run down the street by myself," said Gill. "I'm scared to go outside by myself."

Her running career, for now, is over after the attacks. The second attack knocked the 26-year-old out of participating in the Boston Marathon.

"Everybody kind of compares it to lighting strikes twice," said Gill. "I never thought it could actually happen again."

During her first attack, Gill suffered bites on her leg. It's been nearly a month since the second attack left her with wounds to her head, arm and legs.

Gill is just beginning to walk on her own. The walk to the mailbox is measured in slow, careful steps.

"My leg has finally stopped bleeding," she said. "That took about three weeks. My arm -- we're not sure exactly what is wrong with it. We are still figuring that out. It is a wait-and-see kind of thing."

As part of her daily marathon training, Gill ran about 8-10 miles a day along neighborhood streets. In February, she was attacked coming down a nearby sidewalk. Last month, she was attacked a second time a block away.

"The dog went after her and the cable broke," said Gerald Thorne with Oxford Animal Control.

Thorn said there have been very few dog bites in Oxford. He credits the dog's owner, Nick Jackson, with pulling the dog off Gill.

Jackson was charged with failure to secure his dog and no rabies shots. After the quarantine failed to detect rabies, the animal was returned to the owner as a dangerous dog.

"If the owner doesn't comply with the laws of the dangerous dog, then the dog will be removed from his custody," said Thorne.

The charges against Nicholson and Adam Finch, owner of the first dog, are still making their way through the court system.

Gill's dream is to run again. But she said it won't be in the neighborhood where she nearly lost her life.

Dogs bite nearly five million Americans every year. According to the Center for Disease Control, between 12-15 people are mauled to death.

Of the 25 different dog breeds that cause fatal dog bites, Rottweilers and pit bulls cause half of these deaths. However, it's important to note that any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog.


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