Monday, September 11, 2006

More on dog attacks

Pit Bull Attack in Juniper Valley Park

(Middle Village, NY September 6) New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has an "unofficial" policy of allowing dog owners to walk their dogs off-leash in NYC Parks from 9pm to 9am. The unwritten policy has been challenged in the courts by the Juniper Park Civic Association.

At about 11pm on Wednesday, September 6, 2006, Lisa Ludwigson of Maspeth and her fiancé, Darwin, were walking their dogs, Max and Harley, two mini pins (pinschers) on leashes on a path in Juniper Valley Park, in the Parks' Department newly created designated dog walking area. At about 11pm an unleashed pit bull charged the dogs and picked up Max in his mouth dragging and shaking the small dog. Darwin attempted to remove Max from the pit bull's mouth when the owner ran up to get his dog. The pit bull dropped Max to the ground. Max was bleeding from several puncture wounds.

The owner of the pit bull attempted to leave the park. Both Darwin and Lisa insisted that the owner remain or they would follow him home. The police were called and arrived in about 20 minutes but took no report saying it was a civil case. According to Lisa, when the police arrived the owner was holding his dog by the collar (with no leash attached) yet no summons was issued.

Max was rushed to Elmhurst Animal Hospital on Queens Boulevard. The small dog suffered multiple bites, scratches, puncture marks on his back and shoulder. Staples were used by the vet to close several puncture wounds. Max also suffered scrapes to his body, face, legs and paws as a result of the pit bull lifting up the small dog and shaking him along the ground.

Max is swollen, still bleeding from deep puncture wounds but is expected to survive. He is on oral pain killers and antibiotics. Total vet bill: $494.00 and counting.

According to Ms. Ludwigson, the pit bull's owner, a resident of Jamaica, Queens, said that the pit bull was a good dog and never attacked anyone. Everyday leashed dogs are attacked by unleashed dogs in NYC Parks yet no reports are taken by the police unless a human being is bitten. Ms. Ludwigson said that if she saw the pit bull charging she would have picked up her small dog. Fortunately she didn’t have time to pick up her dog since the pit bull most likely would have attacked her.

On June 8, 2006 at about 9:10am, a similar incident occurred in Principe Park in Maspeth. Matt Connolly, 64, was walking his leashed Shih Tzu dog on a leash outside the park (on Maurice Avenue) when an unleashed Rottweiler bolted from the park toward Mr. Connolly. He attempted to protect his dog and picked it up. The Rottweiler knocked them both to the ground and proceeded to maul both Connolly and his dog. Mr. Connolly’s arm was shredded and his dog seriously injured.

Because of Commissioner Benepe’s dangerous edict more attacks both on park users and other dogs will occur. He is putting everyone in harm’s way by giving into a very small citywide contingent of unleashed dog advocates.

This topic and others will be discussed at the Juniper Park Civic Association Town Meeting on Thursday, September 21st, 7;45pm at Our Lady of Hope School Auditorium. Eliot Avenue & 71st Street, Middle Village. The first part of the meeting, Captain Shanley, Commander of the 104th Precinct will be present to report to the community and answer questions.

For more information please call 718-651-5865.