FORT WORTH, Texas - A runner training for the Olympics along the Trinity Trail in Fort Worth was viciously attacked by a dog. A decision about whether or not the dog will be released back to its owner has not yet been made.
The attack happened over the weekend just down the jogging trail by the Hulen Street Bridge. The runner says she is convinced if others hadn't been there to help, she may not have survived.
Caitlin Keen qualified in December for the 2020 Olympic Trials, and she has the determination of a bulldog. But at 110 pounds, she almost met her match on Sunday morning.
“It leaped on my arm. Pulled me to the ground. Couldn't tell you how I got up. I got up and started running the opposite direction,” he recalled. “Then, it grabbed me by the back and pulled me down. Once I got up that time, I faced off with it and kicked it. I think that bought me a little bit of time.”
Keen says another runner saw what was happening.
“I thought it was going to kill me,” she said. “I knew if I had any chance of getting away from it, it was kicking it and trying to fight it off. I needed someone to show up in that second for me to get away, and she did.”
Keen says a runner started throwing rocks at the dog.
“If she hadn't been there, I don't think I would have been able to get away,” she said.
Then, Tyler Caviness came up walking his two dogs.
“They were screaming for help,” he recalled. “I handed off the leashes to my dogs to one of the ladies and intercepted the dog as it was running past me. I grabbed it by the collar. I sat on top of the dog to keep it from getting away. It was struggling a little bit. I was putting all my weight on the dog. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere without a fight.”
Keen showed had wounds to her arm, back and shoulder. She received 21 stitches in six areas. She says the mental wounds may be just as bad.
“That's been the hardest thing to get out of my head: the image of this dog jumped up on me grabbed me down,” she said. “That's the scariest thing for me to let go of. I don't know how long it will take.”
Keen submitted a dangerous dog affidavit to the city on Tuesday. That starts the process of determining whether the dog will be euthanized or returned to its owner.
“This dog is a public safety issue,” Caviness said. “He’s shown he’s capable of hurting someone to the degree it did Caitlin. It is going to happen again.”
Keen says she won't let the attack keep her from her dreams. She's allowed to run again in one week.
“I'm not going to let something like this deter me from keeping that dream,” she said. “I'm not going to be like I will never run again because I'm scared. That's pathetic. I've fought this long to get here.”
The director of animal services says the dog's owner is homeless. She does want to get her dog back, which was wearing service tags.