Man attacked by stray dogs makes plea to the Tulsa City Council

Man attacked by stray dogs makes plea to the Tulsa City Council (KTUL)

Erik Ekman, a Spanish professor at OSU, was attacked by a pack of stray dogs while running on the Osage Prairie Trail in Nov.

“I was running up from my home at Archer and Greenwood,” said Ekman. “I usually run up through the parking lot.”

When Ekman got to the trailhead at Osage Prairie Trail on the morning of Nov. 17, a pair of stray dogs were waiting.

“One of them was fairly aggressive and the other one was following him,” Ekman said. “I didn’t think they were a threat. I yelled at them to go away and they kept following me about five feet off to my right.”

Then, three more, larger dogs showed up.

“It was pretty scary,” Ekman said. “I realized then I was in danger.”

Ekman walked away with a wound on the back of his leg, with tetanus and rabies shots to follow.

“I’m over six feet tall and over 200 pounds,” he said. “But somebody smaller or panicked might have come away a lot worse. If one of them had been 20 pounds heavier, I’d be in the hospital right now. If two of them were that size, I’d be dead now.”

“We don’t want that to happen to anyone,” Jean Letcher with Tulsa Animal Welfare said. “And it is a problem.”

Letcher is the manager at Tulsa Animal Welfare, and she said there are two major problems with stray dogs.

“People who allow their dogs to run stray, they don’t abide by the Leash Law,” Letcher said. “They get up in the morning and they let their dog out to go to the bathroom or the dog is allowed to roam during the day.”

Ekman is begging the city to help, even appearing before City Council Wednesday night.

“There’s a little-used rail line and some abandoned industrial areas on the other side,” Ekman said of the area near Pine and Greenwood. “So, I think it’s going to be hard to catch these dogs, but they need to do something.”

The problem, though, is that Tulsa Animal Welfare is already short on resources.

“We only have eight officers during the day, 9 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday,” Letcher said. “And outside of those hours, we have one officer on standby.”

But Letcher has a suggestion.

“We do recommend that if you do run and you do often run into animals, that you carry pepper spray,” Letcher said. “Our officers carry pepper spray.”

“I’m ok,” Ekman said. “I’ve changed my running route to down around Midland Trail, but I carry pepper spray.”

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