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Police Preparing to Charge Owner of Dog Involved in New Year Ekiden Incident

translated by Brett Larner

In a Feb. 17 interview, an official involved with the Takasaki Police Department's investigation of an incident at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships in which a roadside spectator's dog jumped out into the course causing a runner to fall confirmed that police are preparing to file charges against a 69-year-old male resident of Takasaki on suspicion of violating Gunma prefecture's Animal Welfare and Management ordinance with regard to requirements for keeping pets under control.

According to the police official, the incident occurred around 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 1 in the town of Kamiorui roughly 3.6 km into the Second Stage.  Running in the second pack, Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta) tripped and fell when a small dog suddenly jumped out into the course directly in front of him.  The owner is suspected of not having had control of the dog at the time, resulting in the dog entering the course and tripping the athlete.  A 60-year-old male eyewitness commented, "He was also holding a baby.  When he was as paying attention to the baby he let go of the dog's leash."  When questioned by police the owner admitted his role in what had happened.

The Konica Minolta team finished 2nd in the New Year Ekiden, 21 seconds behind winner Toyota.  The incident was captured on the live television broadcast and became a major topic on the internet and in the media, apparently spurring the police to pursue criminal charges.  No official complaint report was filed with the police relating to the incident.


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