Attorney claims client who bit jogger acted in self-defense

A dog walker who was arrested for biting a jogger on an East Bay trail is now telling her version of events: 19-year-old Alma Cadwalader claims she was protecting herself and her dogs after the jogger pepper-sprayed her pets.

Cadwalader’s attorney, Emily Dahm, told KTVU on Sunday that Cadwalader is an accomplished equestrian, walks dogs for a living and has never before been in trouble with the law.

“I think my client would simply like her name to be cleared and for the record to be corrected,” said Dahm. “All she did in this case was protect two dogs she loved dearly.”

Cadwalader was walking her two dogs on an off-leash trail on Goldenrod Trail in Chabot Regional Park last Thursday when the dogs ran up to a jogger.

Dahm said that jogger assumed the dogs would attack her and then began pepper-spraying them. Cadwalader yelled at her to stop and tried to take the pepper-spray away. The attorney said the jogger attacked Cadwalader. Cadwalader bit the jogger on the forearm claiming self-defense.

“It is a bad bite but I will tell you what,” said Dahm. “I would bite someone too if they were grabbing my hair, kicking me in the groin and not letting go of me.”

The victim called police. Cadwalader was arrested-and booked at Santa Rita Jail on felony charges that include false imprisonment, battery with serious bodily injury and robbery. She bailed out Friday.

Dahm said her client didn't call the police out of shock and concern for her dogs. Cadwalader took video of her shepherd husky mix following the incident.

“I know Pouya the brown dog's face was swelling up from the pepper spray,” said Dahm.

The victim told police a different story.

“We have information from the victim was accosted by the dogs,” said Lt. Terrence Cotcher of East Bay Regional Park Police. “The dogs may have attempted to bite her and she tried to defend herself.”

KTVU spoke to a woman who knows the victim and vouched for her character.

“She’s a nurse,” said Victim’s Friend Sue Hernandez. “She’s a caregiver. She’s an animal lover. Hearing she was victimized is beyond me.”

The suspect is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon at the courthouse in Dublin. If found guilty on all charges, her attorney said she could face up to six years in state prison.