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Tsukasa Koga, 42, Arrested After Off-Leash Doberman Bites 20-Year-Old University Runner in Yoyogi Park (with video)

http://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news/web/html/220411045.html (with video)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20120411-OYT1T00919.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tsukasa Koga, 42, was arrested after letting her Doberman off-leash in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park.

According to the police, in November last year Koga's 1 m-long Doberman bit a 20-year-old university runner while off-leash in Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Tokyo.  The male athlete was bitten in his right thigh, a wound which required two weeks of recovery.  Ms. Koga refused to pay for the student's hospital costs when he contacted her, telling him, "It's your fault.  You provoked my dog."  After she ignored multiple summons from the police she was arrested.  When questioned after her arrest Koga denied the charges, saying, "I didn't have my dog off the leash and I'm not responsible for any injuries."

Translator's note: Hallelujah, there is justice in the world.  I have been running in Yoyogi Park daily for many years.  A few years ago the park administration built three large fenced-off off-leash dog play areas for the benefit of both dog owners and other people trying to enjoy a crowded metropolitan park.  Despite this and the signs posted at every entrance to the park some dog owners continue to let their dogs off-leash wherever and whenever they like.

I began to have problems with Ms. Koga, her male companion and their off-leash Dobermans over a year ago.  While running one of my regular loops one day the Doberman with the metal collar in the video, apparently the same one which attacked the university runner, charged me on the same hill shown at the beginning of the video.  I stood my ground and shouted at the dog, but it still leaped at me and scratched my right arm with the claws on its right paw.  I confronted Koga and her male partner and they completely ignored me, with no apology, no eye contact, no response to me insisting that they leash their two Dobermans except a muttered, "Yeah, whatever," from Koga's male companion.  I went to a police stand nearby and told the two officers there what had happened and showed them the scratches on my arm and they said essentially, "Huh, yeah, Dobermans are dangerous."  I asked if they shouldn't do something about it since the park is full of small children and the officers said, "Tell you what.  Call us if it bites you next time."  

Park staff were more responsive to complaints after other encounters with Koga and her dog and repeatedly went to confront them, but it's a reality of life in Japan as a non-Japanese that the police are not going to do anything about claims against a Japanese citizen by a foreigner.  It's unfortunate that it actually did take a runner getting bitten for the police to do something and sad that the dog will no doubt be destroyed, but I'm glad Koga is getting what she deserves before anyone gets more seriously hurt.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Gosh, I can't imagine this happening in Japan. This is unthinkable in Sydney Australia. Good to see justice being done and the uncaring dog-owners getting what they deserve.
Anonymous said…
I used to go to Yoyogi Park with my doberman and never had a problem. The guardman will tell me to make sure I had a leash on and that was it. People like that is what makes dobermans look bad.
Anonymous said…
There are no bad dogs, just bad owners of dogs. Hopefully the dog can be rehabilitated, and hopefully, the runner in question will be OK. The owners should be in jail, not the dog.
Brett Larner said…
I just stopped by the park office on my way back from a meeting and thanked the staff for whatever role they had in taking care of Koga.
Anonymous said…
I advise that you speak up again, this time for the sake of the dog. I hate it when the dog gets the death penalty solely due to a bad owner. This animal can be rehabilitated.
Anonymous said…
I am deeply involved in the Doberman/Schutzhund sport world and lived in Tokyo for eight years. Japanese that were once petrified of Dobermans ended up seeking out my dog in the neighborhood all the time for hugs and kisses.

With these dogs comes a big responsibility. Ms. Koga is not a Doberman person but rather someone who purchased some. I personally think people like that get off on scaring people with their dogs. It's a power trip for the powerless.

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