GUNMA, Feb 08 (News On Japan) - A dog has attacked 12 individuals in a park in Isezaki, Gunma Prefecture, including elementary school students. The attacking dog, identified as a Shikoku breed, is believed to have escaped from its owner's residence.
The tragedy unfolded on Wednesday after school hours, around 4:30 PM, in a park bustling with children. The emergency call reported a dog bite incident, initially taking place at Nishibu Central Park in a residential area of Isezaki City. Subsequently, another attack was reported about 300 meters away at Tajiri Park, both areas being near an elementary school and filled with children at the time.
The dog, which was not wearing a collar, appeared unexpectedly in the spacious park area equipped with playgrounds and a baseball field.
A male victim recounted, "It didn't look like a stray dog; it seemed well-fed. I thought its owner would appear soon."
According to police, the Shikoku dog was a male, about 60 cm tall and 130 cm in length.
Masumi Ishii, Director of Maneki Neko Hospital, commented on the Shikoku breed's temperament: "They're slightly larger than a Shiba Inu and not as friendly. They're obedient to their owners but can be prone to biting others. They might bite if someone other than their owner approaches."
Among the victims, nine elementary school students aged between 7 and 10, and three adults were attacked, with five requiring hospital transport.
One of the adults shared, "The first child bitten had a previous dog bite experience and was afraid of dogs. That child ran away first."
The agitated dog chased the fleeing children, leaving two bite marks on the one person's calf.
"Five of us were treated without stitches, just disinfected and given anti-inflammatory treatment. One was taken to another hospital and received about ten stitches," he added. "The dog was grey, definitely larger than a Shiba but slightly smaller than an Akita."
The Shikoku dog's owner, a 62-year-old company executive residing in the city, is believed to have let the dog escape from home. The dog was captured at the scene and taken to an animal welfare center.
Experts stress the importance of responsible pet ownership.
Ishii advised, "In such situations, it's best not to turn your back but quietly back away. Avoid making eye contact with the dog and try to reach a higher ground if possible."
Experts hold the owner accountable, emphasizing the need for understanding the dog's nature to prevent escapes and ensure it does not pose a danger to others.
The police are investigating the owner for potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act, highlighting the seriousness of ensuring pets are securely contained and do not harm the community.