Reader Alleges Dog Attacked at Shaw Dog Park While Owner Does Nothing


“Dear PoPville,

This afternoon [Thursday] around 4:40pm I was at the Shaw Dog Park with my 10.5-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Baxter. He was doing the usual frolicking and playing along with about 5 or 6 other dogs. Out of nowhere a large black female Pitbull named Molly attacked my dog, throwing him to the ground and rolling him. I ran to the dog to try to intervene but, for obvious reasons, did not grab Baxter until the Pitbull backed off a bit. I looked up at the other owners and not one person came to aid or indicated this was their dog. After noticing that Baxter was bleeding profusely I decided that I should go to the vet. About five minutes after the Pitbull attacked my dog she attacked another… all while the owner (an elderly white male) did NOTHING to intervene or apologize.

Baxter spent 2 hours in the vet and it costs us $400 for sutures, a drain, antibiotics and a cone. He’s got a lovely shaved spot on his shoulder from the surgery. We have filed a report with animal control but we aren’t sure what the next step is. Obviously we realize there is some assumed risk when going to a dog park but it’s completely absurd that this dog’s owner apparently doesn’t care that his dog is aggressive. This dog should be euthanized and I think the owner should pay for at least half of the vet bill.

On a side note, City Paws on 14th is a fantastic vet! I’m hoping you can post this to warn other dog owners to look out for this violent dog and also hopefully someone else who was there this afternoon can speak up, call animal control and help up track down the irresponsible owner.”

Graphic photo of complete injury after the jump.


69 Comment

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    This is exactly why I don’t take my dog to Shaw Dog Park anymore. It’s like a magnet for irresponsible dog owners. Then they always say “s/he’s never done that before!” whenever something happens.

    All the dog parks in Manhattan have signs that say, “NOTICE! The dog run is intended for non-aggressive dogs! Aggressive dogs must exit the dog run.” They need something like that at Shaw.

    • A sign? Really?

      Hope Baxter makes a speedy recovery.

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen

        Yeah, a sign. Right now the thing about aggressive dogs is buried in their giant list of rules. There should be a big red sign right on the gate.

        • I think what he’s suggesting is that a sign probably won’t solve the problem. If the fella doesn’t care that his dog eats other dogs, you really think he cares about what’s on the sign? (especially when you just admitted that the current sign already lists something about aggressive dogs…)

    • Agree- my dog got bit there a few years ago and the owner was nowhere to be seen. I kept yelling whose dog is this to try and get help so it would release my dog. No one helped so I put my hand in there and luckily it did not break my skin with its bite. Never been back since.

    • I’d also add that if you’re not sure how your dog will behave around a lot of potentially rowdy other dogs, don’t just assume they’ll be friendly.

    • justinbc

      “NOTICE! The dog run is intended for non-aggressive dogs! Aggressive dogs must exit the dog run.”
      If only dogs could read our writing.

  • OMG that is terrible! I go to that dog park all the time. Will be on the look out for Molly!

  • You should not have to worry about that happening, even if you do go to a dog park! If a dog attacks another dog completely unprovoked, that owner should pay all of your vet bills, and definitely should never take her to a dog park if she ever acts like that. I’m glad Baxter is alright!

  • accendo

    Clear violation of rule #7 ( You may want to report it to the park’s administration/board.

    • Reporting it to the board will not do any good. I tried that when my dog was attacked and the owner didn’t take responsibility and said that’s how dogs play (my dog had to have stitches). The administration said “sometimes these things happen.” It happened a second time (different dog) so stopped going.

  • Did you ask Molly’s owner for his information? Sounds like you know whose dog it was?

    • Anon,

      I think you are on to something here. Yes, this never should have happened but we need to hold the owner accountable. Did anyone there take timely action to hold the owner accountable? If the owner is just sitting back doing nothing then he’ll do it again and it will be someone else’s dog next time. Maybe even someone whose dog was present & didn’t get hurt.

      Being a citizen is a contact sport sometimes & requires taking action instead of saying, “not my problem” or “I’m staying out of it”. If we won’t take responsibility and do it for others or ourselves, who will do it for us when we are unable and need the assistance?

  • I have seen some nonchalant owners there but this is crazy! I have been going to the p st one by kip or (since I am in ne) the one in hyattsville, where there is a real community of owners. Especially since I have a very sweet pit mix, I hate seeing other pit owners letting their dogs fulfill the stereotype.

  • If you see the dog there again, quietly call the police. When they arrive, let them know to contact animal control. Having the police on the scene can at least force the owner to identify himself and provide his address, which you can then use to sue in small claims court for the FULL amount of the vet bill. If animal control also arrives, they may (probably not, but it’s possible) seize the dog. Don’t expect much from them, though. Best bet is to sue.

  • Poor Baxter! Hope he recovers quickly. I totally agree that the attacking dog has no place in the community.
    A few questions:
    -What did animal control say? Are they going to investigate? I’d recommend following up with them on the next steps.
    – Did you get the contact info for the owner of the attacking dog or for the owner of the other attacked dog?
    -If you could track down the owner of the attacking dog, you could take him to small claims court to at least try to get your $400 back.

  • I’ve had my dog for 15 years now and I never let him go to social dog parks, not that he’s ever bitten another dog himself, but other dogs pose a big threat to him in DC when they’re off leash because you never know what’s going to happen. so sorry to hear about the incident, my dog was bitten by an off-leash golden retriever (ran across a busy street up to us) when I was simply walking him around my neighborhood. DC Gov needs a more authoritative office on animal control that can investigate cases like this and issue fines and penalties to bad dog owners. It’s very stressful to have to deal with pet owners that aren’t considerate of others.

    In all fairness, my dog once grabbed a small dog (not puncturing skin though) when it ran outside of it’s owners house and through a fence at us while we were on a leashed walk, I had my dog on a leash at the time and the owners fence obviously had large spaces that the dog could get through in it, mistakes happen, but an owner knows their dog and should never put their own dog and other people’s dogs at risk.

  • Molly’s owner was located & spoken to today. He agreed to pay half of the vet bill & both dogs are quaranteed for ten days. I’m happy Molly’s owner was receptive but still no excuse for his carelessness while trying to free Baxter from Molly. Never even got off the bench at any point, still leaves me befuddled.
    – Baxter
    (I love the folks at city paws, still)

  • i’ll definitely keep an eye out for Molly. We have a young puppy who loves to go to this dog park, we’re there almost every day. Thanks for the heads up.

  • I know this is an emotional issue, but why should their dog be euthanized? What you see as “out of nowhere”, a dog might see differently. If this dog has a history, that’s a different issue all together….but one action does not an aggressive dog make.

    Our dog – a large mastiff – was attacked by a pit bull at the S Street dog park. That dog also bit my husband. The result was BOTH dogs were quarentined. That was it. The other owner was there and said my dog bit my husband…which is funny because if my dog had, the bite would have been WAY bigger!

    One of the large problems with Shaw is that people are allowed to bring toys. We quit going to dog parks because people continued to insist on bringing toys even though they are a high value item and many dogs will attack for a toy – that’s what happened with our dog. Shaw is way worse with the toys than S Street

    I’m really sorry this happened to you, but I’m sure there are other sides to the story. I hope your dog recovers quickly.

    • The email was written shortly after the incident when nerves were high, not how things should be handled. The vet knew exactly who the dog/owner was solely on description & animal control also has a record of Molly prior to yesterday, leading us to believe it’s had a run-in before. A learning curve for us all & both dogs will be fine. As an FYI, animal control doesn’t investigate bites that occur IN a dog park since we all assume a level of responsibility upon entering.
      *quarantined not quaranteed in the earlier post*

      • I honestly feel sorry for Molly– she’s obviously uncomfortable at dog parks and yet her idiot owner keeps taking her back? Not all dogs like dog parks and those who don’t can get violent. My dog is anti-social, and though it pains me that he probably won’t be one of those dogs who loves other dogs, I would rather live with that then constantly submit him to the terror that is dog parks to him in hopes he would get used to it. It doesn’t work like that for dogs.

    • justinbc

      Yeah I always liked S Street dog park, pretty laid back as far as they go.

  • justinbc

    Wow 20 post in and not one derisive comment about pitbulls in general. I’m impressed with you today PoPvillagers, bravo.

  • we love City Dogs too! super friendly and competent.

  • Were you on the big dog side or the little dog side of the park?

  • Poor puppy!! My 8-month old lab mix was bitten in the Shaw dog park in June by a Samoyed type dog. Thankfully, he only had a small nick on his ear, but it was upsetting for us both all the same. I don’t know if it’s the same owner, but this dog belonged to an older, heavy-set white guy with lots of white hair who had several dogs there. He had no reaction whatsoever when I called the bite to his attention and made no attempt to control his dogs. I didn’t call animal control then, but I wish now I’d had the wherewithal then to do it, even though the bite was really minor. We haven’t been back since. I hope animal control will reign the irresponsible owner in poor Baxter’s case. I’ll be wishing him a speedy recovery!

    • I’ve seen that guy there too! I left immediately after getting to Shaw one day because his pack of dogs were becoming a little too dominant with all other dogs there, including a sweet female pit mix. That was the last time I went, but absolutely steering clear of this place now. It always seems to be true – there are no bad breeds, only bad owners!

      • Yup, I know the guy and his dogs too. I immediately go to the small dog area with our 20-pound dog when he shows up. Either that or if we’ve been there a while cut our trip short.

        • Is he Molly’s owner too?

          • I’ve had the chance to talk with the guy you’re referring to (older, long white hair, always has lots of dogs). Only 2 of the dogs he’s usually with are his. He goes to WagTime pretty much daily and volunteers to take rescue dogs that have yet to find a home to the park so they can get out and run around. Every now and then I’m sure one of those dogs has some bad habits, but that’s largely beyond his control.

      • given that these are rescue dogs, sounds like it has nothing to do with the ‘owner’ and everything to do with the dogs. no idea why some people are so ridiculous about their support of dangerous pit bulls.

  • We take our sweet pug to the dog park on P Street almost every day. At first I was worried because it’s a lot big dogs and a lot of pittbulls (or pit mixes), but in my experience the pitts are the most well behaved! The owners seem to be so nervous that the dog will act out that the dogs are incredibly well trained. Really sad this happened to Baxter, because it seems like Molly’s parents are not in the hyper-vigilant camp. You are welcome at P street any time where the owners really seem to be involved!

    • accendo

      +1 I have a little dog and Bundy Dog Park on P is my favorite place, even though there are quite a few bigger dogs there, the owners keep close tabs on them in my experience.

    • Yes! Pits are very smart and trainable too. It’s a winning combo. Source: pit mix owner

  • houseintherear

    My dog got a bite from a medium/large black dog at Shaw in the early Spring. He was not entirely the victim, as the dogs had a disagreement about personal space and both were angry. But I was sad that the other owner simply walked away (rolling his eyes, sneering) and never even checked on me or my dog (who was wailing a terrible high-pitched scream at the time). The kicker was carrying him out of the park, blood dripping on me and all over his white fur, and trying to kick the gate closed…asking for help to close the gate… trying again to kick it closed when *not one person* in the park had the decency to help me… then getting yelled at for not fully closing both entrance doors. That’s was my final adios to Shaw park.

    • Ally

      That is horrible. Rest assured that most of us (e.g. decent human beings) would have most definitely stepped in to help you and your injured dog. Hope he/she has recovered well! Don’t let it ruin you on people.

    • What!? Yeah, the part about Baxter’s story that kind of shocked me (in addition to the other owner being a bad dog owner) was that no one else helped this guy out. If there was a fight and someone’s dog was injured, I’d feel obligated to try to help them out, because I’m sure they are probably too upset and focused trying to take care of their dog. Sounds like Shaw has gone downhill in terms of a dog community.

      I’m sorry this happened to Baxter’s owner, and to you too. That sucks.

  • Ally

    I think asking for the dog to be put down is a little excessive (likely due to poor training from previous owners). However, the dog should most definitely not be at a dog park (especially off leash).

    I just hate to see dogs put down because of stupid owners. That being said, I hope your (very cute) dog recovers soon and I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

    • sorry, but you can NOT ‘train’ or ‘love’ out over 400 years of BREEDING for fighting and aggression. SAD as it is, it IS a human developed dog… To top it off the prison gangs import other aggressive breeds so that the once 45lb staffie is now a Pit Bull of mixed parentage and unknown at that. I worked in corrections and this is how I KNOW what they are doing. The realize that the rest of us normies just will let them walk all over us with their craven desires to cause havoc and mayhem in society. Since we don’t even ‘put down’ killers and pedophiles, removing this not rare dog that kills in unprovoked and no warning manner permanently is the only thing that can be done. There is a VERY good reason that these are the dogs of choice for dog fighting. They don’t go out and use toy poodles do they?

  • It shouldn’t be hard to have a bright orange un-removable collar that dogs cited for aggression should be required to wear at all times. This would restrict them from entry to any dog park.

    • good idea… and , like the ankle bracelet there should be heavy consequences, not just slap on the wrist… but seizure of the dog, to be PTS, a 6 month jail time and $5,000.00 fine and forbidden from owning a dog for 5 years after that or to live in a habitation with one.

  • This is why I stopped going to dog parks. Plenty of owners aren’t paying attention or don’t know what to pay attention to anyway.

  • Pit Bull owners are virtually synonymous with IRRESPONSIBLE… by their very choice of a high risk dog they announce to the rest of the community that they are NOT ready to be a part of it. When a PB attacks, less than 2% of the victims ever get one cent or compensation or reparations for their damages. Victims, when they speak out are HEAPED with vile and abusive language…. threats of violence…. the owners stalk them…when you look at them many if not most have rap sheets.

    Psychological Characteristics Owners of High Risk for Aggression Dog Breeds | Psychology Today
    Ownership of High-Risk (“Vicious”) Dogs as a Marker for Deviant Behaviors –

    Dogmen: The Rationalization of Deviance –

  • Hold on the dog should be euthanized? You sound like a pretentious jerk. Dogs at rough and I have 3 pitbulls who wrestles and throw eachother around. They get scuffed up. The owner probably knows this and assumed she was playing. But that means she should die right? You’re an asshole. And it’s people like you who ruin the breed’s name.

    • Okay many typos there, not illiterate, lol. Damn keyboard…

    • Pit bull owners and advocates have no idea what normal dog behavior is. They assume the pit bull’s mauling, killing genetics are the same as all other dogs. Thank you for demonstrating this with your comment.

  • i’m sorry that happened to your dog. i would suggest calling the police if that ever happens again.

  • Never confuse a pit bull advocate for a animal welfare advocate it just simply does not add up.
    The animals killed included about 12,000 dogs, 8,000 cats, 6,000 hooved animals, and 17,000 other small domestic animals, primarily poultry.

    The seriously injured included about 12,400 dogs, 4,000 cats, and 1,700 hooved animals. Few small mammals and poultry survived reported dog attacks.

    Pit bulls inflicted 99% of the total fatal attacks on other animals (43,000); 96% of the fatal attacks on other dogs (11,520); 95% of the fatal attacks on livestock (5,700) and on small mammals and poultry (16,150); and 94% of the fatal attacks on cats (11,280).

    About 30,000 pit bulls were involved in attacks on other animals, many of them killing multiple other animals.

    There are about 3.2 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, according to the annual ANIMAL PEOPLE surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption via online classified ads.

    Thus in 2013 about one pit bull in 107 killed or seriously injured another animal, compared with about one dog in 50,000 of other breeds.

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