The Oakland woman who went viral after she was arrested for biting a jogger's arm, telling police she had just fended off a dog attack, said she was only protecting her pets.
Alma Cadwalader, 19, alleges the jogger was pepper-spraying her two dogs in a park without provocation when she stepped in to stop it. Cadwalader's attorney, Emily L. Dahm, told BuzzFeed News her client then bit the jogger out of self-defense during the scuffle.
Dahm spoke on her client’s behalf Monday, saying she wanted to set the record straight over what really happened at the Goldenrod Trail between Chabot Equestrian Center and the Oakland City Stables on Jan. 3.
Dahm said her client was walking her two 6-year-old dogs — Pouya, a shepherd/husky mix, and Otto, a dark lab mix — in the designated off-leash area of the park when they ran up to greet the jogger as she ran in their direction. Dahm said despite initial reports that they were aggressive, the dogs did not attack or bark at the jogger, and did not act hostile in any way.
“I think she assumed incorrectly that the dogs were a threat to her and were going to attack her," Dahm said. “For whatever reason, she thought it was necessary to pepper-spray the dogs. And I can’t see any reason for the life of me why that would be necessary under the circumstances.”
Dahm said her client yelled at the jogger to get her to stop, to no avail.
"My client tried to grab the pepper spray, and that is when the jogger grabbed my client by the hair and started kneeing her, kicking her in the groin," Dahm said. "When she had my client’s hair in her fist and wouldn’t let go, my client bit her arm to get her to release.”
The encounter was over pretty quickly and her client walked away stunned, just wanting to get her and her dogs to safety, Dahm added.
Despite what happened, Cadwalader, who was arrested on suspicion of felony battery, false imprisonment, and robbery, is not interested in pursuing charges herself against the jogger, Dahm added. Her client, she said, is “simply looking for justice and not vengeance.”
The dogs were treated by flushing out their eyes and did not require veterinary care.
Cadwalader has so far not been charged with a crime as prosecutors consider the case.
The district attorney's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dahm, meanwhile, said the exposure generated by the story has been “horribly embarrassing" for her client.
“She just wants her name cleared and she wants to move on,” she said.