Off-leash dog causes biking accident leaving injured biker with hefty medical bills

Dogs must be on their leash at all on times on the Santa Fe Trail. / Mike Duran -- FOX21 News
A pedestrian walks a dog on the Santa Fe Trail in Colorado Springs. / Mike Duran - FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — We have heard of off-leash dog attacks, but what happens when an off-leash dog causes a biker or runner to have an accident?

A man who asked not to be identified told FOX21 he was mountain biking on the Santa Fe Trail about a mile north of the Woodmen trailhead when an off-leash dog entered his path, causing him to crash.

“It kind of popped out from the side of the trail and I didn’t have time to react,” the man said. “I tried to make an invasive maneuver and the next thing I know I hit the ground like really, really hard.”

Animal Law Enforcement said dogs wandering without their owners are nothing new.

“It’s daily,” Joe Stafford, Director of Colorado Springs Animal Law Enforcement, said. “Last year, here in El Paso County we responded to over 6,000 calls with reports of dogs running at large.”

But in this case, the dog caused quite a bit of harm.

“Got a lot of road rash.” the man said. “I went to the ER twice for this thing, concussion, bruised rib, bruised lungs and thousands of dollars in medical bills.”

And the fact that the owner was never found means he’s left covering those bills himself.

“You’re responsible civilly, meaning financially, for any actions that result of irresponsible pet ownership. In a case like this there’s very little that can be done unless the owner of that animal can be identified,” said Stafford.

But the man said it’s not about the money. He just wants people to care about safety.

“I don’t say all of that because I want sympathy. I don’t say all of that because I want reimbursement. I just want to raise awareness about how important that is.” he said. “There’s a reason why they post this trail and these multi-use trails to have dogs on a leash and I think that’s pretty important.”

According to Animal Law Enforcement, if the owner of the dog had been found, they would be financially responsible for any injuries caused by the off-leash dog.

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