Woman Tangled In Dog's Leash Falls And Dies

 |  Oct 1st 2009  |   30 Contributions


Beverly HeadTaking your dog for a daily walk is a great way for both you and your best friend to keep fit.

I'm sure those of you who do get to the park regularly have seen dog owners riding a bike with their dogs, on leash, running besides them. No doubt some think it's cute, while others an accident waiting to happen.

If San Jose this exact scenario played out at the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, but this time ended in tragedy. A man on a bike with his two Siberian Huskies in tow were out riding when they passed Beverly Head on the trail, their leash got tangled around her. The 62-year-old woman fell and died the next day.

Head, who walked in the park daily, had always been uncomfortable about bicyclists riding with their dogs running leashed besides them. However, there is no law against it, no crime being committed.

Here are the details from the Mercury News.

Now, two weeks later, Bob Head is mourning his wife's death and wondering why there wasn't a way to prevent it. He is desperate to find the cyclist, who stayed to help the mother of three known for her deviled eggs and Halloween decorations, but left once paramedics came. Propelled by Head's frustration.

The freak accident is sparking a question among some city leaders about whether it would be reasonable to enact a law that would make riding a bike while walking a dog a crime in San Jose.

" I want closure," said Head, 65, a retired General Electric engineer, whose voice is filled with anger and grief.

San Jose police investigated and say in this case, there wasn't a crime.

In San Jose the municipal code does state dog owners must have "direct physical control" of their dogs on leashes up to 20 feet. That applies while owners are walking their dogs, it doesn't state anything about whether the owner can be on a bicycle.

Head didn't like seeing dogs on a leash while their owner was riding because she felt it was cruel to the dog. She had seen a little dog trying to keep up with its owners, stumbling along. What a tragic turn of events, Head was concerned over the welfare of the dog yet ultimately the safety issue it presented to people is what killed her.

Mona Favorite-Hill, spokeswoman for San Jose's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, said her office has been talking about the unfortunate turn of events, too.

"There was no way to anticipate this," she said. "We've never thought about it before. If there was such a law, how would we enforce it? The only thing we would be able to do is put up signs and put out an education campaign."

Kathy Sutherland, Councilwoman Nancy Pyle's chief of staff, said the office began Monday investigating whether the current municipal code.

We extend our condolences to the Head family. What happened to Beverly Head was obviously a horrible accident, the question is, could it have been foreseen? Should there be a law against dog owners riding a bike with their dogs in tow? Give me a bark.

* Photo courtesy Head Family/ Mercury News

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