Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pit bull attacks small dog: 'I thought he was dead'

by Elissa Harrington KVAL News
Originally printed at http://www.kval.com/news/96519039.html
SPRINGFIELD, Ore - A 9-pound Italian greyhound is recovering after being attacked by a pit bull at Springfield dog park.
It happened at Willamalane's Lively Park Monday evening. The park is divided in a large dog section and a small dog section.
Toshika Wilson told KVAL News she moved her dog Tiny to the large dog side so that he could have more space to run. She said her dog was standing in the middle of the park minding his own business when she saw a pit bull heading straight toward him.
"He was completely under the pit bull," Wilson says. "I don't know what went on but he was totally under it. I thought he was dead."
Tiny suffered numerous injuries including bite mark wounds to his neck, cuts on his ear, and scratches on his belly. A witness told KVAL the pit bull bit two other dogs right before Tiny, deep enough to where they drew blood.
What happened after the attack is what upsets Wilson the most. She says the pit bull's owner quickly got his dog, and left the park.
"I said, 'Give me your name and your telephone number,' and he said, 'There's no need. There's no need. Get away," Wilson said.
Wilson memorized the man's license plate and called police, but nobody would help her.
"They wouldn't take my report," she said.
One of the people she spoke with was officer Tracy Sparks, the city of Springfield's Animal Control Officer.
KVAL News asked if there's anything she can do.
"No," said Sparks. "Unfortunately in an off-leash dog park animals are allowed to roam amongst themselves, and be interactive. And the ordinances like 'dog at large' are not going to apply. Nor 'vicious dog' are going to apply."
The dog park, owned by Willamalane Parks and Recreation District, is located half in the city and half in the county. Sparks said she believes the attack happened on the city's side, "So unfortunately there's no violation of city code regarding the incident," she said.
Sparks said the city's ordinance is if a dog leaves its property and attacks another dog, they would handle the call. But since a dog park invited dogs in, people and animals enter at their own risk.
She said if there's a consistent problem with an aggressive dog, a person should contact park officials.
KVAL News contacted Mike Moskovitz, the park's Public Affairs Manager. He sent us a list of the park's rules. One of those rules states, "Dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior must be leashed and removed. Owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs."
In the statement, Moskovitz said "according to the park’s rules, it was the pit bull’s owner who was responsible for the dog’s actions. The pit bull’s owner should have leashed and removed the dog before the dog had an opportunity to attack the smaller dog. It’s unfortunate the small dog was injured. The pit bull’s owner did not follow the rules nor even stay to help with the injured dog. The issue is between the two pet owners."
Moskovitz also suggested calling police if things get out of hand. But Sparks told KVAL News there's no report that can be filed.
Wilson said she is confused where she can get help and is worried if nothing is done, something like what happened to Tiny could happen again.
"That's a dangerous dog," she said. "And if it's a dangerous dog it doesn't matter what species, it shouldn't be handled like that."
These rules are prominently posed at the dog park:
  • Dogs must be licensed and current on all vaccinations. License tags must be displayed.
  • Dogs must be leashed when entering and leaving the dog park. Dogs outside of the fenced dog park must be leashed and under control at all times.
  • Owners must clean up after their dogs.
  • Dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior must be leashed and removed. Owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs.
  • Park users and dog owners assume all risks related to the dog park.
  • Handlers must be 16 or older. No children under 16 unless accompanied by an adult.
  • No dogs under 4 months or dogs in heat.
  • Small Dog Area is reserved for dogs under 25 pounds.
This is an example of why pit bulls should avoid dog parks at all possible costs. No matter how well behaved and friendly you think your pit bull is you mustn’t forget dog on dog aggression is in their blood and you never know what could trigger their aggression. Kangol’s dad, Koby, is fine with other dogs, even male, as long as they are smaller than he is; additionally, I know dogs aren’t supposed to be able to differentiate size but I question that because that is the only time he is DA. Although now that he is 9 years old, even that is starting to calm for the most part. I would never take him to a dog park though.
The pit bull owner didn’t help matters by refusing to give his name and even inquire about the little dog’s well-being. Thanks, asshole, for contributing to the negative image surrounding pit bulls and their owners; however, the pit owner was following the rules by leashing and removing his aggressive behaving dog.

OK on to the little dog, Tiny and his owner. She has a 9lb dog in the BIG DOG AREA. WTF? She needs to follow the rules as well. I highly doubt there wasn’t enough room in the small dog area. Besides, how much room does a 9lb dog need to run anyway?

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