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Dog killed by two off-leash canines while being walked in Riverwoods section of New Hope

beware of dog

(file photo)

On Aug. 2 at around 6 p.m., a resident of the Riverwoods section of New Hope was walking the family dog near Riverwoods and Deer Path drives when, according to police, the animal was attacked and killed by two larger dogs that had escaped from a neighbor’s home.

The smaller dog, said by one neighbor to be a Bijon-type, never stood a chance, according to a police description of the incident. The first of the attacking pit bulls killed the smaller animal so rapidly and violently that the second attacker couldn’t “get in on the kill.”

Both attacking dogs left the scene, but were apprehended a short time later by police, and transported to the Bucks County SPCA. Officer Ken Kozuhowski filed charges on Aug. 4 with Judge Maggie Snow pertaining to Pennsylvania statutes on the confinement and control of dogs, and on the summary offense of harboring a dangerous dog, according to court records.

“The P.A. Dog Warden was contacted due to the ‘dangerous dog’ charges. Both attacking dogs were euthanized as a result of their actions,” say New Hope police.

Their owner, Jane S. Tracy, 66, provides physical therapy services from her Riverwoods Drive home, according to public records. She received four citations in all; two for each dog. Next step in the legal process is the entering of the defendant’s plea. Defendants are presumed not guilty unless proven guilty in a Court of Law or until such rights are waived by the accused.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • No matter what all dogs are required to be on a leash. It is very sad that another dogs life was taken. I do not agree with pit bulls being labeled as combat dogs. That is crap. It is how they are raised. This just shows the ignorance of humanity. I agree with Jeremy.

  • I am very sorry for Sobe’s family but also sorry for the woman whose two pitbulls were put down. Since the reports point out that only one dog attacked, it seems odd that they were both put down. But then again, based on your comments, none of you really care about those dogs. Killing that woman’s dogs didn’t bring Sobe back or avenge the attack. It is blood on the hands of New Hope PD and the judge involved. Breed Specific Legisglation, which is what you are calling for, is a ridiculous over-reaction. Pitt bulls are not more dangerous. Your ignorance, hostility and presumptive was is dangerous. Humans cause more deaths, suffering and injury than any animal on this planet. Based on your logic, we’d be better off putting all of you down.

    • Your comments are disturbing as person who just lost her beloved pet due to a Pitt Bull killing it. You must own one or are just callous. My dog was being walked on the leash. The owners dog was not. It killed our tiny dog unprovoked right in front of my son.

      • My tiny 16 week old puppy was savagely attacked by a pit bull attack on Main Street last Tuesday. Today he fights for his life awaiting his second surgery. How he is still alive is a mystery to all. The amount he has had to suffer is heartbreaking. I am so sorry you lost your precious baby.

  • This is a very sad story, but sadly one that is repeated several times a day in the US. Pit bull were created for dog on dog combat. They have been selectively bred for hundreds of years for aggression. There is no guarantee that anyone can out love or out train genetic predisposition. All dogs are not created equal. It’s my understanding that the Riverwalk development is covered by a HOA. The residents of this community would be wise to push the HOA to adopt a policy that forbids aggressive breeds such as pit bulls.

  • Sadly, we can’t bring Sobe back, but I hope that the Borough, the Township and the County review their laws and regulations concerning dangerous dogs — especially Pitbulls. I used to be in the camp of “it’s not the dog, it’s the owner” and while this woman was by all accounts horribly and fatally irresponsible, Pitbulls are selectively bred and genetically predisposed to explosive aggressiveness, attacking without warning, and killing their intended victim quickly and in the most horrible maulings (called “gameness”). Too many of us embrace the “poor misunderstood maligned” breed hype or the “my pit bull will lick you to death, he’s so friendly” — myself included until I did the research. The statistics reveal that over and over again, these “good dogs” turn without warning on animals AND humans – especially children. This link regarding 2 pit bulls responsibly raised from puppyhood deserves a review:…
    And for the City Council, County and Township officials and law enforcement:
    This is not a reaction to one tragic attack but an effort to educate and prevent because I am a dog lover. And my beautiful gentle 50 lb dog could not have survived an attack like this. Nor could any of those kids in that neighborhood. Maybe further legislation and/or penalties should be called “Sobe’s Law.”

  • My heart goes out to Sobe’s family. No one should ever have to experience this nightmare. When I walk my dog, loose dogs are always a concern. I have worked with pit bulls and pit bull mixes in rescue. The exceptional dog does NOT negate the statistics. Yes, they can be sweet, smart, loyal dogs BUT they are by nature animal aggressive and nature is nature. I have seen it time and time again — an unprovoked attack out of the blue with no warning. I no longer volunteer for rescue because I don’t believe that these dogs are suitable to live in communities or as family pets and rescues have become part of the problem. Stronger laws are needed. Jane Tracy should face criminal charges for her negligence in housing and controlling dangerous dogs. I also want to know why –with so many previous attacks — it took THIS to euthanize those dogs. Why were all the other incidents ignored? Under no circumstances should she be able to own another dog. If ACCT Philly gave her those dogs or she was fostering for them, they should also be held accountable. For those of you who want to dispute the statistics surrounding pit bull attacks, here’s an enlightening article from Tia, founder of Villalobos (Pitbulls and Parolees) Prayers for the owners of Sobe.….

  • I live in the neighborhood and I was horrified to find out about this. My question is: WHY did it have to get to this point ?? The dogs have obviously escaped before. The owners had shown in the past that they could not control their dogs. The dogs had shown aggression and they should have been taken from the owners before it got to this point. A sweet innocent dog, taken care of and loved by his family met a horrible death because someone did not care enough to control their pet. Plus, the family had to go through this nightmare and is still living through it. The owners of those pitbulls should NEVER be able to own another dog – no matter what the breed. i agree with all those who have made comments – we should not have to live in fear.

  • The world has lost one of its brightest lights,
    one of its true ambassadors of peace, love, and
    goodness, in the loss of poor little Sobe. What
    joy he brought to everyone who knew him. His
    ability to communicate love and joy was nothing
    short of human, and the world should be devastated
    over this senseless loss. The only way to honor
    this loving soul is to enact laws that make sure
    things like this do not happen again. I surely
    l hope the owners of the two attacking dogs know
    how much senseless pain they have caused. They
    don’t deserve to own animals if they can’t
    control them.


  • I knew Sobe personally and loved him dearly. He was the sweetest, most well behaved and well trained dog I’ve ever known. To lose him in this most horrific way is truly devastating. The careless owners of the attacking dogs have no idea of the many hearts broken, both young and old.

    It’s such a shame that this once beautiful, peaceful neighborhood will never be the same for Sobe’s owners. Hopefully Sobe did not die in vain and this will never happen again to another furbaby or worse yet, small child!

  • I am heartbroken over this. The poor dog that was attacked and killed lived a few doors down from me. He was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. He was pure joy. He did not deserve this and my heart goes out to his owners, who loved him like a son.

    The responsible party lives across the street from me and their dogs are always “escaping.” Another one of their dogs attacked my dog right on our own front lawn last year. He was bitten but I managed to get him away before the pit bull could latch on. It is a miracle my poor little dog was not killed and I realize now how lucky we were. I hope justice is served and that these irresponsible owners are banned from having any more dogs in the future so we don’t have to live in terror anymore. It is a shame because this never should have happened.

  • Rescuing a dog is an admirable thing to do. The responsibilities that come along with rescuing are not meant for everyone. Being able to provide a safe environment for the dog, yourself and EVERYONE else around you is one of those responsibilities. Please, if you are not able to handle the responsibilities for whatever reason, do not attempt it.

    A dog is like a child to those of us who do not have children. We love and care for them. We teach them and we raise them as everyone would raise their children.

    The “smaller dog” was the victim, but for many, they will only think of it as only a dog. That “smaller dog” had a personality all of his own. He could brighten up any day just with his playfulness. That “smaller dog” was as caring, loving and special as any child. That “smaller dog” touched many lives from friends, neighbors, co-workers and casual acquaintances. That “smaller dog” had a name. His name was Sobe and he did not deserve to die this way.

  • Any dog labeled as vicious should not be rescued by just anyone. I believe there needs to be a better law for dog owners who want to rescue certain breeds of dogs. There has to be accountability before ownership is taken. Steps need to be put in place for those type dogs that have history of violence and aggressive behavior. This was a senseless crime and the owners who lost their dog have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Absolutely devastating!

  • This sweet little dog, his name was Sobe , was my Daughter and Son in Laws most precious little guy. The pain they are going thru is indiscribable and the owner of those pit bulls only had to say “I don’t know how they got out” ! Well she was the most irresponsible owner I have ever come across. Don’t care that she foster or adopted them , she made no effort to make sure they were secured in their yard. They have gotten out so many times. This woman needs to own up and she should be banned from ever having another dogs, especially pit bulls. Our sweet Sobe didn’t stand a chance and we will always be heartbroken over this. Too much pain

  • From

    “However, official registration or licensing data are likely to be biased, as owners of certain dog breeds may be less likely than those owning other breeds to register or license their dogs4 and, thus, should not be used to calculate these rates. Finally, it is imperative to keep in mind that even if breed-specific bite rates could be accurately calculated, they do not factor in owner- related issues. For example, less responsible owners or owners who want to foster aggression in their dogs may be drawn differentially to certain breeds.
    Despite these limitations and concerns, the data indicate that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.

  • Everyone is quick to defend pitbulls, but the data is the data. Pitbulls are by far the breed most likely to be involved in violent attacks towards other animals or humans – accountable for almost twice the number of attacks as the next nearest breed.

    Here’s a CDC link showing pitbulls as being BY FAR the breed involved in the most human fatalities – it’s about 15 years old but I’m at work and it was the first one to come up.

    Do a quick search for data about dog attacks by breed, dog fatalities by breed, etc and you’ll find multiple studies reinforcing the exact same thing. Pitbulls are far and away the most dangerous breed of dog – they were bred to be that way. Sure there’s individual dogs that are great, but the breed as a whole is a nuisance.

    This is a legit, large scale, CDC study. So all of the “pitbulls are sweet dogs” stuff is just head-in-the-sand ignoring raw data. I’m sure everyone’s pet pitbulls are really sweet and kind – until that one moment when they’re not, then there’s a dead dog or (God forbid) child.

    Read it yourself. If you want to ignore the numbers, go ahead – but it doesn’t change them.

  • Those two pit bulls left the scene after killing the little dog and ran up to the Village II circle where they attempted to attack another dog. Fortunately it was small enough that the owner was able to hold it high in the air until help came. The New Hope police were incredibly fast in responding and should be commended. It’s been said that the two pit bulls were being fostered but whether they lived there or were fostered, this is still another situation where the person in charge did not take proper precautions and, as a result, both dogs had to be euthanized. But what no story can relate is the sweetness of the little dog who was killed, the incredible pain his family must be going through and how much our neighborhood will miss his little face smiling at all of us.

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