ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - A Florida woman said she was attacked by a pit bull while running the Donna Marathon race, and Atlantic Beach police are investigating.
Julie Stackhouse of Jacksonville said she was about a mile out from the finish line near Sherry and Fourth streets when a dog viciously attacked her.
“In all my years of racing, I’ve never encountered anything like that,” Stackhouse said.
The attack left her with stitches and she ended her race headed to the hospital. Stackhouse is a personal trainer and this year was her 10th year racing in the Donna Marathon.
She said this year was special to her because her mom was previously diagnosed with breast cancer and she was celebrating her survival.
“My mom was diagnosed exactly one year ago with triple negative prior to the Donna race. Knowing that you’re running for something much bigger, it can mean something to a lot of people,” Stackhouse said.
But 1 mile from the finish line, things took a turn for the worse when she was attacked by a dog.
“I tried to avoid it, I tried to run away from it and prevent it, but it just happened,” Stackhouse said.
She said she threw up her arm to prevent the dog from biting her in the face and it latched onto her arm.
“I have six stitches. I have never had stitches in my life, so I guess I have a battle scar now,” Stackhouse said.
When she crossed the finish line, she needed medical attention.
WJAX reached out to the dog’s owner to see if they wanted to comment and they refused. However, Stackhouse said she is looking forward to next year’s race, but she hopes dog owners are more prepared for the race.
“Dogs, they need to be leashed, especially with thousands of runners coming through an area,” Stackhouse said.
Atlantic Beach police said the owner of that dog has been cited and fined since the incident. The dog was also put on home quarantine per the Department of Health request.
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