Attacks by wild dogs have Beit Shemesh residents on edge

Protest planned for Sunday to demand city take action against roaming packs.

January 30, 2017 00:08
2 minute read.
WILD DOGS roam in Beit Shemesh

WILD DOGS roam in Beit Shemesh. (photo credit: ELLIE FEIN)

A pack of wild dogs roaming the streets of Beit Shemesh for more than a year has residents of the city, located roughly 30 kilometers west of Jerusalem, living in fear.

Despite regularly alerting the municipality of the ongoing danger, residents say minimal efforts have been made to protect the public, resulting in multiple injuries and traumas.

To protest the lax reaction, and prevent more attacks, a demonstration has been scheduled for Sunday at 9 p.m.

Tova Perlman, 20, said she was attacked by a pack of at least five dogs last Sunday.

“I was walking home from work at around midnight, and as I approached my house, I saw a shadow and looked up and saw two massive dogs without leashes and realized these were the dogs that were attacking everyone,” she said.

“When I looked around to see how I could escape, there were three more dogs behind me.

And when I tried to move, the alpha dog bit the back of my calf, and I fell flat on my face and got a black eye.”

Perlman said the dog then attempted to drag her down the street, but eventually let her go and fled after she continued to scream for help.

“I ran home and went to the hospital to get rabies shots, which were very painful, and the next day went to the police to file a complaint,” she said. “Then I went to the municipality, but they were very unhelpful. They said there is a dog catcher, but he’s not allowed to use lethal weapons, and the dogs keep getting away.”

After a story about the dog attacks was posted on a community Facebook page, Perlman said several more residents came forward to share their horror stories.

Ellie Fein, a mother of four, is one of them.

“In the last month, there have been at least five people hospitalized [because of the dog attacks],” she said. “For over a year, we’ve been calling the municipality, because they say if you see a dog to call 106 [municipal hotline], and they contact the dog catcher.”

Fein regularly encounters a pack of seven medium-tolarge dogs, she added.

Still, Fein said the municipal phone number has not been effective.

“Two weeks ago, at 4 p.m., I was driving down the street and saw a friend of mine who was walking her dog with her son,” she said. “Suddenly, a pack surrounded them, so I pulled over to the sidewalk and honked my horn and she threw rocks at the dogs, and they eventually ran away.”

That same day, Fein said another resident wrote on the Facebook page that she was attacked by a similar pack, and hospitalized for bites.

The municipality has recently hired a veterinarian armed with a tranquilizer gun to assist the dog catcher, who is only permitted to use a rod with a circular rope to lasso a canine’s neck, but Fein said the measure is not enough.

“The veterinarian claimed she has caught five dogs, but there are still at least five dogs walking around from that pack, and people are still being terrorized and attacked,” she said.

“We have been affected in so many ways by this,” Fein said.

“We don’t let our children go out, and the dogs bark so loud at night that it keeps us up. It has affected our daily life.”

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