On Thanksgiving afternoon, about 2 p.m., Nailande White, known as “Lucy,” was walking her two dogs in the Emerald Lakes development on Sixth Avenue South.
Layla, a 5-year-old schnauzer Chihuahua mix, and Oreo, a 1-year-old Chihuahua-French bulldog mix, were on their way home.
Suddenly, Lucy, a 28-year-old PetSmart groomer in Delray Beach, spotted Lesi, a 3½-year-old boxer mix sniffing the grass near her pets.
Lesi was on a leash but it wasn’t being held. She was being walked by Demetrius Adams, a 25-year-old Boca Raton resident who was dog-sitting for $200 for Lesi’s owner, Nathanel Geren, in New Jersey for the holiday.
“Soon as I saw the dog, I tried picking up little Oreo real fast since she’s only 9 pounds,” Lucy said.
Doing that made Oreo’s collar jingle, drawing Lesi’s attention.
When Lucy looked up, Lesi was charging toward her.
“The guy walking the dog said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, she’s friendly and won’t bite,’” Lucy recalled.
Adams then tried grabbing Lesi, Lucy said, but she just broke loose and started attacking Layla. “We were both trying to get her off her,” Lucy said. “Her teeth latched onto my hand and nearly busted it open.”
Layla limped off, hollering and whining.
These type of animal attacks happen daily in Palm Beach County, according to David Walesky, a captain of field services at Palm Beach County Animal and Control, a West Palm Beach shelter for animals.
“When incidents and attacks happen daily, they do, but the severity will vary,” Walesky said. “We may not get severe bites every day, but we’re getting some level of incident every day in this county.”
Walesky said he gets anywhere from 2,300 to 2,500 animal bites in the county each year. “But a lot of those are happening inside the home with visiting family members, friends who visit the homes, it’s not necessarily dogs running loose,” he said.
Meanwhile, back in Lake Worth, Adams said he was in shock about what happened. “I trusted that dog and she’s never hurt anyone before,” he said. “I’ve never seen her be aggressive before.”
“She’s a sweetheart,” said the 22-year-old owner. “I trust her in front of any human and she gets along with all other dogs.”
Layla needed emergency surgery to repair the wounds. Cost wouldn’t be low — $481, Lucy said.
Lucy also took Layla to Banfield Pet Hospital, the dog’s regular veterinarian. “The original veterinarian said they saw two holes on Layla’s body … but when I took her to Banfield, they shaved her right side and saw three or four more that had never been looked at. Her skin was turning black and it started to smell.”
So, Layla had a second surgery, bringing the price tag to close to $1,000.
“The vets are saying it’s going to take a long, long time for her to get better,” Lucy said. “But she will.”
Geren said he paid $170 to Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control to get Lesi back. They kept her for nine days, he said.
He also paid an additional $20 for a muzzle, a device Lesi, thanks to the unfortunate attack, will have to wear the rest of her life.
“I don’t think that’s cool, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Geren said.