Dog Attacked in Kalorama Park

Dear PoPville,

A friend mentioned I should tell you about a recent pit bull attack that happened to my rescue dog. Please post so other people may watch out for this guy and his dogs. They are clearly dangerous and I am concerned next time they will kill a dog, or worse, bit a child. This guy seemed sketchy and I got the vibe this might be a regular thing.

Since having my dog for 5 months, I worked very hard to socialize him. I made sure he was around other dogs, including pit bulls, I am not biased against them and know they can be good dogs. He was abused and rescued from a high kill shelter in SC and this attack has set us back to square one in terms of his fear and nervousness outside. I was walking him on a leash in Kalorama park (this isn’t a dog park) Fri evening at 9:30. We came across a young white boy in a hoodie sitting on a bench with his two aggressive pit bulls. One of the dogs was white and the other was grey. they were both wearing large, black leather, metal studded collars. Both pit bulls were very aggressive as we approached so I told the young guy my dog was a rescue and was nervous around bigger dogs and tried to walk around them. By that point it was too late, the grey dog was not on a leash and lunged to attack my dog. I pulled my dog into the air by his leash, and that is why I think the pit bull didn’t kill him.

The pit bull’s owner didn’t seem alarmed, didn’t say anything, got up from the bench, not in a hurry, and somehow got ahold of his dog, who let my dog go and my dog took off running. Thankfully he is still alive, and got off “lucky”. The vet bill was $600, I took of after my dog and haven’t seen the guy or his dogs. He never said anything to me, apologized or anything. A friend has mentioned she has seen this guy around Adams Morgan and the dogs usually have muzzles on. This night the grey dog was not on a leash. Attached is a picture of my dog,I hope this will help other people to save the trauma and the expense. If people see this guy around, they should call animal control at 311. A report has been filed and they are patrolling the neighborhood for this guy and the dogs.

The city has asked if anyone sees this guy or his dogs to call 202-576-6664 and press option 1, they are patrolling the area for the dogs. They want to get this dog off the street before he kills another dog or harms a person.

78 Comment

  • I’m sorry to hear this story. My girlfriend and I live directly across the street from Kalorama Park. Recently when finishing up a morning yoga session, we noted how many dogs were not on leashes in a non-dog park.

    When will people begin to realize that this is a serious issue? This park has dozens of kids playing on nice spring mornings.

    • I see way too many owners walking dogs off leash in col. hts & petworth. Cops aren’t doing their jobs in writing tickets for these offenses, perhaps they’re too busy setting up speed cameras to tax us.

      • WTF do speed cameras have to do w/ anything Jack5? Honestly? Is it really that hard to stay below 12 mph ABOVE the actual speed LIMIT? Really? Speed kills buddy..especially in the city w/ lots of folks not surrounded by metal and glass.

        To the OP…so sorry, I hope your dog fully recovers!

        • It’s a statement to illustrate that DC police are more concerned in raising money from citizens than protecting citizens… Geez Man, Lay off the coffee!

          I pretty much do hate speed cameras though, they’re a bunch of B.S.

          • No, speed cameras catch law-breakers who endanger the rest of us. If you don’t want a ticket, drive the speed limit or below. Or, if you have to drive faster, drive less than 10 miles per hour faster. If you’re driving more than 10 miles an hour above the speed limit, I have no sympathy for you.

            I also have no sympathy for dog owners that don’t leash their dogs. Although, honestly, I think it’s far more likely I’ll be killed by an idiot driver than by a dog that’s owned by an idiot.

          • One could view the speed cameras as freeing up police to do non-traffic -related law enforcement, and increasing the total level of enforcement they are able to achieve. That’s how I see them.

    • I live across the street from the park as well and walk through every morning and see at least 3 dogs running around without leashes in the 25 seconds i walk through. Definitely needs to be monitored better

    • I agree that dogs not on leashes are a serious issue. But it’s also true that this breed is a problem. Sure, a responsible owner can lead to a pitbull being a great dog – not a danger to anyone. But an irresponsible owner can lead to a pitbull being very dangerous – in a way that is much less likely with certain other breeds, like, say, a poodle.

      It’s like assault rifles. Sure, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But an assault rifle makes them a hell of a lot more effective at it. Similarly, pitbulls magnify the danger of a problem owner in a way that some other breeds don’t.

      • Yes, I chose that name deliberately. Pit bulls are not inherently dangerous. ANY dog that is not well socialized and/or under stress can be dangerous. Get your facts straight and stop buying into the pitbull hysteria.

        • Which one of my facts is not straight? With a bad owner, a pitbull is more likely to be dangerous than a poodle with a bad owner is. Just like a bad guy with an assault rifle is more dangerous than a bad guy with a steak knife.

          I’d prefer that we didn’t have bad guys with weapons of any time, or bad dog owners with dogs of any type. But instead of hysterically responding with a demand for the facts – while in no way providing any of your own or responding to the logic of my argument, doesn’t disprove my premise.

        • +1. Pitt bulls are inherently awesome. Any dog can be turned into a ranging beast of teeth and violence. So tired of the offhanded way people diss this breed.

          • There is no pitbull hysteria. There is pitbull reality that cannot be changed by denials. Spend about 24 hours of continuous searching for news links to pitbull attacks, contact the victims personally, ask for pictures of the pitbull and their wounds. You will feel very foolish for having endangered people with the claim that pitbulls are not inherently dangerous. When my dog was killed by “friendly” neighbor pitbulls I had petted, played with, and my dog had played with for two years, I knew nothing about them so I spent the necessary time researching them from hundreds of sites…pro and con…the cons are dangerous, spinning rhetoric leading to disguising the real nature.

  • I have a friendly dog and live nearby…I avoid this park when I’m with my dog because of the 10 million unknown unleashed dogs. I wish they would start ticketing people again.

  • I live directly across from Kalorama Park too. I am sorry about what happened to your dog. I can’t say I have seen this owner before, but will be on the look out. Our dog has been attacked at this park before. Thankfully, not seriously. People letting their dogs run off leash is a huge problem at this park. I love to let my dog run around, but only in an actual dog park. As a responsible dog owner, I would fully support our police issuing tickets to people. Unfortunately, I just don’t think they have the man power. The District can barely keep the grass mowed, weeds under control and light bulbs replaced. We’ve reached out to our alderman (Jim Graham) and received no response.

    • I live in the same neighborhood, about a block west of the Kalorama Park. Agree that off-leash dogs in this park is a really big problem.

      As an FYI, you won’t hear anything back from Graham’s office. I have contacted his office numerous times for various matters and nothing has ever come of it. One time I was even told “you’re not in our district, call Jack Evans.” Graham and his staff are too busy making sweetheart deals and taking bribes to deal with constituent matters.

      • My experience with Graham has been the opposite. The few times I’ve contacted him he has responded quickly and solved the issue I brought up. I live in Ward 1, though, so maybe that’s the difference?

      • I have always gotten very prompt responses from Jim Graham. His constituent services have made life in this city livable.

      • Emilie504

        Jim Graham has always responded to me quickly. Once I just sent an email saying I liked that he did a particular thing and he responded telling me why and it wasn’t even an election year!

        • Friend of OP and I sent Jim Graham an email about the incident. He responded saying that he has authored legislation banning possession or adoption of pit bulls in DC.

          Goldens and Labs do not attack. People pick those dogs because of their temperament. Folks pick pit bulls (and other dogs) because of their temperament. Let’s be real.

          Some happy medium between the “breedists” and the “anti-breedists” needs to be found. Public safety is at stake.

          • Tell that to my sister who was attacked, twice, by a chocolate lab. Before Pits got they stigma, they were called “nanny jobs” due to their gentle nature. It’s all about how a dog is raised. If you neglect a dog, or mistreat it, it will act out. I grew up with labs, and have a pit mix now, and there is nothing inherently different. It’s all about how you raise them.

  • I’m very sorry about this. Off-leash dogs are a huge problem. I don’t care what breed it is or how big it is- it’s extremely irresponsible to let your dog off-leash anywhere in the city but a dog park. Police really need to start ticketing people big time.

    I have a pit bull and I am constantly on the lookout for off-leash dogs. We encounter them at least once every time we go for a walk, and have been charged on numerous occasions. Luckily she’s small so I can pick her up to protect her from an attack, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that I even need to do this in the first place.

    I’d say in the future, if you see something that doesn’t look right, just turn around and walk the other direction. Pick up your dog if necessary and just get out of there. There are too many irresponsible owners unfortunately.

  • Thanks to the OP for actionable items here. Too many times people just post this stuff without any official goals in mind. Glad they did their homework before getting everyone in a tizzy……. Yes, I said tizzy.

  • I’m glad you and your dog are ok. I’ve been taking my dogs to this park for 12+ years now, on leash of course. Having any dog off leash at this park is not acceptable.

    Many new residence may not be aware that this park was a run down, drug/bum hangout with the homeless sleeping in the bushes along the fence. That was just 10 years ago. The neighborhood dog owners took charge of cleaning up this park and the activities of the dogs helped drive out the homeless and crime. Only then did the district update the playground and reseed the lot.

  • This is horrible. Yesterday morning I was walking near the area on my way home and I saw a white/hispanic guy walking his black/brown pitbull without a leash or muzzle. I made eye contact and he gave me this “I’m cool and my dog is fine” smug look. I just kept on walking, but I thought to myself that this is all fine and dandy until he attacks a small dog or kid. I did see a police car a couple of blocks down the road but I didn’t really think that the police would bother with ticketing dog owners. I’m really sorry.

  • Oh my God, not again! I’m so so sorry to hear this. Pitbulls should not be allowed in public spaces such as these. I will definitely be on the look out for this guy and his dogs.

    • It’s actually irresponsible dog owners that shouldn’t be allowed to do this. I’m so tired of people blaming the breed. Blame the irresponsible owner who not only harbors a dog with an aggressive demeanor, but also allows it off-leash in a high traffic area.

      It’s the same stupid argument about everything in this city. Cyclists are the worst…no, irresponsible cyclists are the worst. Drivers are the worst…no, irresponsible drivers are the worst. Uggh.

    • or irresponsible, probably neglectful owners of OFF LEASH DOGS should not be allowed in places like these…..

      • There are plenty of irresponsible owners of leashed dogs in this area too. I can’t count the times when I lived there that some clueless owner would walk their leashed dog right up to mine, despite the fact that I asked them not to (complete with a statement that one of my dogs is not friendly on-leash), and caused problems. Or better yet, owners who would get offended because I didn’t allow their leashed dog to greet my on-leash dogs.

  • Does it have to be a cop to give a ticket? What ever happened to the good old dog catcher?

    Why doesn’t the city enforce leash and dog license laws? I think thats time to do so.

    • There is a District “Community Building” at the park. I believe I have seen them watering plants before… I wonder if the personnel at the community building can help? It seems to be more of an after school/recreation type of establishment though…

      • It’s a rec center with no activities and two human personnel collecting what I am guessing are biweekly paychecks.

  • So sorry to hear about this. I used to live across the street from Kalorama Park and used to see this guy (with his two dogs) frequently. I remember that he usually had muzzles on them. I saw him walking them most of the time on Columbia near Belmont–that seemed to be part of his route. If the cops are patrolling they should keep an eye out for him in that area, I’m sure they’ll find him.

    Hoping your pup feels better soon!

    • Let’s be better citizens. We know who this guy is. Call the cops.

      OP pass this post onto the police. This way they have a heads up. Come what may, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

  • Sick of the “pitbulls obviously have to be bad since all the attacks I hear about are by pitbulls!”

    There are a high majority of pitbulls attack because A HIGHER MAJORITY OF PITBULLS ARE ABUSED, NEGLECTED AND TRAINED TO BE AGGRESSIVE BY IRRESPONSIBLE “TOUGH GUYS”. When raised in a good environment, they’re sweet dogs. Sick of breed blaming. Yes, one should be careful if they come across a pitbull they don’t know because they have no idea what kind of environment it was raised in. Other than that, people are the assholes.

    • bfinpetworth

      Very very true. It isn’t the pit bull breed that is bad. But the breed does seem to attract an awful lot of bad owners. I just adopted a Rottweiler puppy and I am VERY aware of some people’s fear of that breed. I got a rottie because I love the breed, the interesting personality, the strong but cuddly physicality. We are working very hard to raise a confident, stable, loving dog. But I will fully understand anyone who might see her (when she’s grown, right now she looks like a teddy bear!) and cross the street to avoid her. Because there are too many people raising too many large breed dogs like pits and rotties and german shepherds that are not doing the hard work of raising good dogs – they are only looking for a dog that is intimidating to enhance their own intimidating tough guy persona. It infuriates me to see dogs off leash.

    • Unfortunately, even pit bulls that are raised right have a genetic tendency to become dog aggressive (NOT human aggressive) once they reach maturity. They were bred for dog fighting, after all. It’s not universally true, but people need to be aware of this.

      • That’s actually not true…at all. But thanks for propagating more false information about pit bulls.

      • Pitbulls do not have a genetic tendency to be agrressive or to be anything else. Pitbulls do not have genetic tendencies at all because there is no such thing a pitbull, genetically speaking. Dogs are called pitbulls if they have large heads, square jaws, and stalky builds, or if in the opnion of an animal control officer, they look like a pitbull. (Read any breed specific legislation — it always reads this way). You can get your dog genetic testing to find out if it is a hound or a lab, but not a pitbull.

        • 1) “Pit bull” is not itself a breed, but it does refer to a specific group of breeds. It’s not really just a type of mutt, uninformed animal control officers aside (not sure how that’s relevant).

          2) If you are really suggesting that pit bulls are not prone to dog aggression based on their history, you’re full of it. Here’s some more informed info: http://mabbr.org/pit-bull-ownership/ . People who deny this are irresponsible. If you’re going to own a dog, you have to be honest with yourself about your dog’s personality and the potential for problems to arise. Pit bulls are great dogs, but they’re not teddy bears.

        • This is completely false.

          Pit bulls are a specific breed – falling under the category of American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, or the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

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  • I’ve seen this guy with the two dogs panhandling on the median of K Street at the Rock Creek Parkway ramps. You’re probably not dealing with a rational actor.

  • I have set up an account online with the DC government. I have not used it to complain about dogs, but have sent in other service requests, and they government has been very responsive.

    Those of you who use this park may want to send in a request for enforcement of leash laws. It certainly won’t hurt.

    Wobble

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your dog and hope he’s okay. I’ve avoided Kalorama Park because my dog is sensitive to dogs off leash when she’s on hers. I don’t understand why people just don’t use Walter Pierce, it’s right there!

  • To all the Pitbull boosters on this site, of course if they are trained and raised and handled properly they can be wonderful and loving dogs. The problem is that in this City, a pitbull attracts many thuggish and irresponsible owners who think they are bad ass walking around with this type of breed (as oppsed to a lab or something). The folks who post on PoP are NOT the thuggish owners so naturally you are having a different experience with your Pit. Take a walk around Petworth if you want to see a significant number of pits and their thuggish owners. I am at the point that I am sometime nervous walking around with a baby because of so many reports of pits off leash. One a-hole lets his run around the Park View rec center off leash in the work out area where there are always kids. Complaints to the rec center do nothing.

    • In sorry but this comment is beyond ignorant. If you mean by thuggish that many pit owners in pet worth are African American sure…but EVERY single one I’ve encountered is in control of their perfectly friendly and socialized pit. Just because a young man may happen to be black and may have a “scary looking” dog does not mean they are thuggish or irresponsible in their dog ownership. I’m a young white woman who lives in petworth with my two dogs, one of whom is a pit mix…glad to know I’m a thug.

  • The police have time to sit on their cars near the 7-11. Maybe they should relocate their coffee sipping to a reserved space for them near the park and do some walking in the park too. Will prominent signs noting the leash law and penalties help a bit toward bringing down the violations?

  • Linked is a very interesting article from Applied Animal Behavior Science. It is an objective and rather surprising look at dog aggression when measured against humans and other dogs.

    http://www.greyhoundpets.org.au/publications/ResearchArticleWhichBreedsareMostAggressive.pdf

    The dog breeds with the highest rate of aggression towards strangers? Dachshunds. Pit Bulls actually have a below average to average level of aggression toward strangers.

    However the pit bull breed has an above level rate of aggression against other dogs. Once a pit bull does initiate aggressive behavior – the results are severe. The physical characteristics of the breed (jaw strength, musculature) mean that when compared to other dogs with very high levels of aggression against other dogs (such as Jack Russel Terriers) the pit bull poses a greater threat.

  • Emilie504

    I’m sorry your dog got injured. I hope it recovers quickly. I’ll keep an eye for the pit bull owner.

  • How much more evidence do we need to keep pitbulls out of our neighborhoods? We’ve had a story like this every week. It’s not the individual animal, it’s the breed.

  • Responsible dog owners need to be capable of controlling their dog. On my walk yesterday on Park St/New Hampshire/Sherman Ave triangle I encountered a woman being dragged by her large pitbull charging toward me and my small dog. Both of us had our dogs on leashes, however she wasn’t physically strong enough to control her dog.

  • If folks are worried, they should consider picking up some pepper spray and bringing it out on your walk. It can be ordered off Amazon for $10. It might not totally stop an aggressive pit bull, but it will definitely slow him down for a bit and give you some extra time to extricate yourself from the situation. Hope for the best, plan for the worst – ya know?

    DC seems to have a much worse problem with irresponsible owners of pit bulls than other urban areas I have lived in. Until cops start enforcing the law, you need to take care of yourself and your dog.

  • I looked at the available dogs at the local shelters yesterday. More than half were full grown (over a year old) pit and pit mix. I love dogs, but without knowing these dogs’ histories I wouldn’t be able to trust any of them. Has anyone had a bad or good experience with a pound pit?

    • i adopted a pit mix from the NY avenue shelter, as have two of my friends. my dog is great with people but demonstrated some anxiety and fearfulness (that turned into aggression) with other dogs. i dont know her history, but the scars on her face made it clear that she had had some bad experiences. i do not buy into the idea that pits are inherently more dangerous, but i am also not naive; i understand that she and i are judged by a different standard.

      with an unknown past and having demonstrated some aggressive behaviors, i invested in a trainer to work with me and the dog. in the 6 weeks i have owned her she has become much more comfortable with other dogs; passed a socalization test; been boarded and to doggie day care without incident; and no longer shakes in fearfulness or lunges in aggression at other dogs.

      my friends have also had great experiences with their two shelter pits. i have found them to all be sweet, great dogs.

      • p.s. she was 10 mo at adoption. i always walk her on a (literal) short leash. her agressive behavior was mostly vocal and lunging, but never close enough to another dog to be a potential problem.

        i frequently encounter pitbulls and other dogs off leash. i have no tolerance for it. one of the first days i had my dog, an off leash pit ran two blocks at full speed with no owner in sight to “greet” us. it ended up fine and they played okay but it could have ended differently. as someone training a reactive dog, not having an animal on a leash puts boths dogs and owners at risk unnecessarily. i dont care if you think your dog is sweet and well-behaved. mine might not be. walking your dog off leash doesnt make you a better dog owner or mean your dog is better trained. it means you do not care about the safety of other pets and petowners.

    • our rescue pit was 9 months old, and a smelly sack of mangy skin, scabs, and bones when we met her. we spent nearly a month putting her in contact with other dogs, aggressive dogs, multiple dogs, puppies, older dogs, single adults, kids, babies, mixed groups of people of varying racial backgrounds, with toys, with noise, with food, taking food away from her. We tried this extensive testing method over a year with 3-4 other dogs we had been considering and they just didn’t do well with one or more tests, and so we didn’t adopt them. eventually we met this mess of a puppy who passed all tests with flying colors, a wagging tail, and soulful eyes. it’s a questinon of doing your homework and real work if you’re going to adopt responsibly.

  • Idiots just making it harder and harder for pit bulls to establish a decent reputation.

  • Once you find this guy, the poster should take him to small claims court and recoup the money lost at the vet. This guy is legally liable for the damages done to your dog, which is often considered property.

  • We’re rooting for you, Buddie!

  • What would it take to have better monitoring and ticketing of owners who allow their dogs off-leash in this park — contacting the police district it’s in? Calling the police (or animal control?) to report an off-leash dog when you see it?
    Thanks to the OP for reporting this — I’m glad your dog will eventually be ok and that he has someone like you looking after him.

    • Not animal control. That’s only for when there is no owner present. Contact the police. Insist that a ticket is written.

  • One of the problems is that several people in the community who may indeed have well behaved dogs promote off leash dog activity in this park. They usually have get togethers with their dogs in the park on weekends which only promotes this type of behavior. It is a lack of respect for others who follow the leash laws and are respectful of other dog owners and their dogs. There are designated dog parks and while they may not be as nice or as open as a 3 acre park, you know what you are getting into when you take your dog there and it is supervised (hopefully by other responsible owners). I’m terribly sorry this happened to you and your dog. We have a rescue as well and it was tough in the beginning without something like this happening. I wish brighter days for you both.

  • To respond to the question about why dog owners in the area don’t go to Walter Reed, it is because the dogs in that dog park are very aggressive. That has been my experience each time I’ve gone and heard the same from others. Generally the dogs off leash at K Park are in the early AMs before most people are up or kids are out. I don’t like to see off leash dogs when kids are in the park, but unfortunately it happens. Also unfortunate is that fact that more and more dog owners who use this park fail to pickup their dog’s poop. I walk my dog here every day and it is so frustrating. They give all dog owners a bad name. I have never seen the person or dogs you mentioned in the park before, but I will definitely look out for them. This is a horrible story and I’m sorry for your dog.

  • So very sorry for what happened to your dog. I hope someone will call the police next time this young man is spotted. Sadly, it will be the dogs who suffer.

  • (1) He’s doing this intentionally.
    (2) “I love Pits” people. You love the dog. This guy is a menace to the breed. Look out for him at the dog parks. Call the ASPCA, cops, whatever. When you see this breed (and dogs in general) off leash. Say something.

    I don’t get why people go to bat for these dogs, but care nothing for the victims. Eventually a human will get killed (yes, human > canine). W

  • You need to get ‘prejudiced’ against the pit bull type dogs as quick as possible, otherwise your normal dog will be killed next time. A pit bull type dog (pit bull, ‘Staffie’, American Bulldog, etc etc) is never a good dog with other dogs. It might be okay one time, then a second time, but in the end their fighting genes play up and they try to kill even dogs they know very well.

    Stop buying into the pit-people propaganda. Keep your dog away from all these pit-types! Even when they have nice, middle-class, non-hoody owners, they are vicious to other animals and mostly also to children and us adults too.

  • I’m a dog lover, owner, and long time rescue volunteer, but I also try to be objective when it comes to the “pit-bull debate.”

    Raised appropriately Pits (Pitt Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Am Staffordshire Terriers) can be sweet, loveable family pets. However, more than most breeds they require a firm hand and intense socialization in order to be a happy health well adjusted dog. They score highly on loyalty and protectiveness, as well as prey drive (which can manifest itself as aggressiveness towards small dogs). Combined with a powerful scissor bite and among the highest strength to weight ratios of any breed, the fallout from a improperly raised “pit” can me more severe than will other types.

    Unfortunately, the powerful and loyal nature of these canines also attracts many of the wrong people to seek them out as pets. Many of these owners chose not to neuter the males and purposefully don’t socialize them as they should. We learn about the consequences of these choices on weekly basis in newspapers and on local tv. Anger is often focused on the dogs, but it belongs on the owners.

    So are ‘pits’ more dangerous than other breeds, the short answer is yes, but with the caveat that they are not by nature malicious killers (towards people, anyway) and that more people, including owners, need to be educated about them.

    As a side note, the Daily Beast once did a weighted rating of the most dangerous breeds. Though by no means is it scientific, it is informative:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/11/03/most-dangerous-dog-breeds.html

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