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Woman shares warning after foster dog attacked at Denver's Park Hill golf course

Woman shares warning about dog attack at Denver's Park Hill golf course .jpg
Posted at 10:11 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 00:30:49-04

DENVER —- In a matter of seconds, a woman says her foster dog was attacked so badly they needed stitches.

"She had absolutely no chance," Jocelyn Alpaugh said of her foster dog, a 3-year-old Mastiff named Stella.

Alpaugh says she decided to take Stella on a stroll in Denver's undeveloped Park Hill Golf Course on the evening of June 20. The golf course closed in 2018, and ever since, many dog owners have frequented the area.

Alpaugh has been fostering dogs for years through the rescue organization Big Dogs Huge Paws, but she says last week was the first time she experienced a situation like this.

"[The dogs] were literally one on either side of her," she said through tears. "That was the worst part, that she was just really helpless."

According to Alpaugh, two large dogs ran over to Stella and began attacking. She isn't sure where the dogs came from, but she says the dogs looked well kept.

Alpaugh says Stella was left with at least 15 puncture wounds, and thus far, veterinary bills have totaled $1,000.

While Stella's wounds are now healing, Alpaugh hopes her story will remind others about etiquette and the Denver's leash law.

"You've got to respond [to your dogs], and then you've got to make adjustments to ensure that they're not getting out," she said. "And these dogs might not ones that are going to attack, but it's for the dog's own safety."

Alpaugh says Stella was leashed the entire time.

According to a City of Denver spokesperson, it's unlawful for any dog to be running loose in the city unless the dog is in a designated, off-leash enclosure. The spokesperson also said while the alleged attack at the Park Hill Golf Course appears to be an isolated incident, Denver's animal protection officers have responded to other off-leash attacks in other areas.

In the years she's spent fostering dogs, Alpaugh says she's become very selective about which parks visits in order to keep her fosters safe.

"I'd love to be able to go to any of the parks and to be able to walk any of my dogs," she said. "We all love dogs, we just want to have good encounters with all of them."

Since 2008, Big Dogs Huge Paws has placed around 4,500 dogs into homes. The rescue organization says one of its greatest needs is for more foster volunteers. For more information on how to get involved, click here. Adoptions details for Stella can be found here or on Instagram at the handle @rescuestella.