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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dog Mauls Prominent Nob Hill Woman in Huntington Park

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Marion Cope -- the 73-year-old widow of Newton Cope, former co-owner of the swanky Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill -- was seriously injured last month when she was attacked by an off-leash dog in Huntington Park, according to police records reviewed by SF Weekly.

click to enlarge rsz_maddog.jpg
This is not only sad but something of an odd coincidence. The park where Cope was attacked was donated to the city in 1915 by the family of railroad baron C.P. Huntington, after whom the Huntington Hotel -- a property owned by Cope's late husband and his former wife -- is named.*

Cope was walking her leashed Irish terrier, Clancy, on the evening of Nov. 11 when several off-leash dogs cavorting in Huntington Park attacked the dog, according to a San Francisco Police Department report on the incident. Cope sought to intervene, but the dogs were "relentless," according to the report. One of them bit her on the calf of her right leg, resulting in a 10-inch wound.

Cope was discovered sitting in the park by police officers who responded to the incident, and was rushed by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital. Her doctor told officers that she would need plastic surgery to repair the extensive damage to her leg.

Personal e-mails supplied to SF Weekly by sources familiar with the incident shed some light on what happened in the aftermath of the attack. In a Nov. 21 e-mail, Cope wrote to David Lefkowitz, an officer in the Nob Hill Association, that she was

awaiting a Nov. 25 surgery, which had been delayed "due to extensive

infection" in her wounded leg.

The incident is sure to spur debate over enforcement of city laws prohibiting dogs from roaming off-leash on public land, a sore issue of contention among dog owners and their opponents -- particularly older park-goers and families with young children, who have complained about out-of-control canines. (The Recreation and Park Department requires that dogs be leashed in Huntington Park, where Cope was attacked.)

"In the past few years the park has become a nightmare of unleashed dogs," she wrote in her e-mail to Lefkowitz. "What is it going to take to enforce the leash law and control access? A death of a child? A badly injured adult? I am a seriously injured adult..."

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Marion Cope's late husband, Newton Cope, former owner of the Huntington Hotel, was related to the Huntington family, who donated Huntington Park to the city in 1915. In fact, Cope was related through marriage to Eugene Fritz, who bought the property that became the Huntington Hotel in 1924. We regret the error.

Photo   |   chefjancris

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