Vilas Beach lifeguard attacked by dog and its owner

Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 --- 10:22 p.m.

Madison Police are looking for the dog owner responsible for a fight that injured two Vilas Park lifeguards over the weekend.

According to the report, a lifeguard tried to intervene on a loose dog running towards a child.

"I think had I been off-duty, just a normal civilian there, I wouldn't have intervened, but that's my job," said the guard named Tom, who doesn't want his last name used.

The boy's family snatched up the child just in time, police said. The guard told the dog's owner to leave immediately, at which point the dog and its owner then came after the guard.

"It was the last thing on my mind, it was literally the last 15 minutes I was scheduled to be in the chair," Tom said.

Tom tried to use pepper spray to try to fend off the dog and its owner. The dog stopped, but the owner continued to go after the guard.

"He hit me, slammed me against the wall, got me on the ground and proceeded to kick me," Tom said.

According to the police report, the dog owner slammed Tom into rakes hanging on the wall of the beach shelter. During the fight, a second lifeguard was hit in the hip with a rake. A third lifeguard was able to pull the dog owner of Tom, before the man and his dog took off.

The suspect is described as a white male, 29-35 years old, 5'11", 160 pounds with dark scraggly hair and a goatee. Anyone with information should call police.

Tom said he hopes the incident will remind people why the City does not allow dogs at beaches.

"It's a very small percentage of the population of people and dogs who cause problems, and that's what the rules are for, so I hope when we do enforce a rule, people appreciate why we do it and see the whole picture," he said.


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