Bicyclist kicks dog in the head on the Luce Line, killing it

The dog died five days after it was kicked in the head, its owners told police.
luce line state trail

A dog died days after being kicked in the head by a bicyclist on the Luce Line State Trail in the western Twin Cities suburbs earlier this month, according to a police incident report.

An Orono Police Department incident report says a 73-year-old Orono woman called police on Oct. 13 to report her dog's death. 

She said she, her husband and their dog were running along the trail on Oct. 6. There was no one in sight of them until a "biker came from behind, at a quick pace," kicked their dog in the head, and kept riding down the trail, the report said.

The dog was running behind the owners on the trail when it was kicked, the report said, noting the biker kicked the dog so hard it ended up on the side of the trail in the brush and wasn't breathing. 

The owners performed a heart massage on the dog and revived it, the report said. For the next five days, the dog rested at home. But on Oct. 11, the owner went to put the dog in its kennel when the dog's legs went out from under it and it stopped breathing.

They massaged its heart again, but it didn't work and the dog died, the report said.

The owners said the bicyclist is believed to be a man, he was wearing a helmet, black bike pants and a colorful bike shirt, but they aren't sure if they'd be able to recognize him if they saw him again because it "all happened so fast and they were trying to attend to their dog."

The incident report calls this a petty misdemeanor, but no suspect has been identified. 

Meanwhile, posts on NextDoor indicate the owners have hung signs on the Luce Line about their dog, a yellow lab, near Brown Road in Orono. Many on the page are calling for etiquette from bikers, walkers, dog owners and others on the trail, which has been extra busy this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources maintains the 63-mile Luce Line State Trail that stretches from Winsted east to Plymouth, where it connects to the Luce Line Regional Trail, which connects to Minneapolis. The DNR has a webpage dedicated to trail etiquette and rules. Among them: pass on the left and give an audible signal; stay to the right when others approach; yield to pedestrians and slower trail users; and keep your pets on a leash and under your control at all times.

The DNR's website says the Luce Line has experienced "very high use" and it may not be possible to practice social distancing on it, noting it can be impossible to pass or approach someone without coming within six feet if there are too many people on the same stretch of trail at the same time. 

BMTN has reached out to the DNR for comment.

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