“Please Help Us Find the Owner of the Dog that Attacked our Dog Monday”


UPDATE: “I just wanted to let you know that I have made contact with that dog owner’s! All is well now that we’ve connected.”

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday (Monday, February 16th), around 12 noon, our dog (pictured) was attacked by another dog inside the S Street dog park. The dog that attacked her was a tricolored Australian shepherd. (Our dog also happens to be a miniature tricolored Australian Shepherd…I figured I’d state this just to prevent any confusion.)

The dog latched on to our dog’s backside the moment after we entered. We weren’t sure whether or not the attack resulted in a full “bite” but, sure enough, found out that indeed a bite did occur during attack after visiting the vet.

Please let us know if you have any information to help us locate the owner.

We want to contact the owner to ask about the health of his dog and let him know that indeed our dog was bitten. He did hang around to make sure we were okay after the attack but we were in shock and forgot to ask for his information.

Please email me at [email protected]

25 Comment

  • Having gone through a dog attack, a few suggestions:

    — Call animal control. They may already be familiar with this dog. You also want to get the attack documented for the record as soon as possible.
    — Take as many pictures of the bite wound and post-treatment as possible. Document the wound and what was done to treat it.
    — Go back to the park when you can and ask around. You may find people who witnessed the attack and/or who know the owner. All of this is helpful in pursuing a case through animal control.

    Good luck.

    • Also, keep receipts for your vet bills — get documented receipts that show every charge down to every blanket, pill and IV line. Animal control will be able to get medical records from the vet, but you’ll need the receipts if a case moves forward and compensation becomes an issue. Create a paper file and keep all the records you can get.

  • Agree with Sarah. Document everything. Absolutely everything. Go back to the park and try to find someone who witnessed the attack. Perhaps put up a sign at the park?

    This is exactly why I stopped taking my dog to the S street and Shaw dog parks.

  • where was the owner in the dog park?

  • YES, please call animal control. Important to keep “tabs’ on the animal, if only to ensure responsible pet ownership on the owner’s part. I have seen way too many owners at that dog park without any control over their animal, or without any real knowledge of their dog. Not all dogs get along with all other dogs. Or, not all dogs even enjoy the dog park. As pet owners, we too often take a dog to the dog park as a way of making ourselves feel like we’re doing the right thing. When, in actuality, the dog is trying to tell us “WAIT, this is freaking me out, get me out of here.”

    Working towards a time when all pet owners look at their animals as individuals, not just the breed or species that they are.

  • if I were there, I would not share the information unless the owner was flagrantly irresponsible, which it sounds like they were not. You never know what might happen to the dog that did the biting. It sounds like the owner did the right thing and stayed to make sure they were okay – let them be and don’t enable a lawsuit or worse through popville.

    What do you think happens at the end of the animal control case? Don’t escalate unless you really think it is a dire matter of public safety.

    It does not sound like this is what happened here, but I’m SO sick of people not staying close to their dogs at the park and not taking the time to learn warning signs. I have seen dogs, particularly small ones, exhibit clear signs of distress like raised hackles/teeth-baring, a small growl that go unnoticed by their owners and then the little one provokes a bigger dog into attacking it. People then blame the bigger dog who was often just as scared. Just because your dog didn’t do the biting (that you know of), doesn’t mean it wasn’t part of the problem. Of course we are all responsible for our dogs and what they do, and attacks are not acceptable. But preventing them falls on everyone.

    People need to learn how to handle these situations- if your dog was involved in a scuffle in any way, you need to leave until it chills out (Google “calming signals”). Do not make it lie down, don’t yell at it (it has already forgotten), and do NOT hit it (I saw this happen once). If your dog frequently provokes or is provoked, don’t go back to the park without consulting a trainer. It isn’t that expensive if you shop around. Everyone needs to be responsible, but don’t give away other people’s identities especially if it exposes them to a lawsuit.

    • Thats crap, their dog was uncontrolled and bit another animal, they at least should pay for injuries. The dog will not be put down for one incident of biting another dog. It does need to be reported in the event this has happened more than once. In that case the dog is a danger and people should be aware of it and have the right to sue to recover for injuries.

    • I think you highlight a generally true fact about most dog incidents (at the dog park in particular) in that there is rarely any blameless party. However, not sure that is what happened here if as the OP reports, the attacking dog immediately engaged as soon as they entered the park. One thing I often see is that people entering/exiting need to be aware of is that the entry point to the parks is often a conflict zone. That may have been the case here, in which case both parties should have been more aware and perhaps ready to intervene…

      • to “bs”: to some extent all dogs are uncontrolled at the dog park… Every owner must be ready to intervene immediately. “Dupont Resident” makes some great points about alternatives to this. Animal Control should get involved if there is a serious, persistent problem here; that isn’t called for when the owner is reasonable and sticks around. What is the point? And, yes, they do have a right to sue and recover and no one said otherwise. I simply said that as a community we don’t have to be the instruments of that. OP should be clear about what they intend to do with the information.

        And thanks, “sometruthhere.” Any decent trainer will tell you that owners should keep their dogs from being part of the “welcoming party” at the entrance to the park. It is a major cause of distress in animals.

    • This is crap. It’s important for the injured dog’s owner to know whether the other dog was properly vaccinated. Treating a bite wound caused by a properly vaccinated dog is much easier than treating a bite wound from a dog that is not up to date on its rabies vaccination. If the dog was not up to date, or valid information about the dog’s vaccination status can not be found, the bitten dog will be subject to a number of limitations. For instance, the bitten dog won’t be able to go to doggie day care, or be boarded at a kennel for up to 6 months. That’s a big deal, especially in DC where people travel a lot.

      Also, from the description of the dog mentioned above, I believe this same animal may have been involved in another fight resulting in injuries at the same dog park. If that’s true- this owner really needs to be put in his place and should stop taking his dog to the dog park.

      It’s unlikely that the OP has any intention of filing a lawsuit, but s/he is definitely entitled to have the other dog owner take care of any vet bills caused by this (especially if it’s the dogs 2nd offense).

      No one wants to see another dog put down because of such an altercation, and such a result is *highly* unlikely. Animal Control will not seize the dog b/c of a bite to another dog. It may give a warning or citation, but it’s not in the business of killing dogs b/c of interactions like this.

    • I agree with you. A trainer once told me that more often than not, the dogs at the dog park shouldn’t be there. small dogs are no exception. My dog gets along with larger dog breeds, but smaller, more vocal dogs really stress him out, so we opted to stop taking him to the dog park.
      Every dog Owner just needs to be aware of their pets, what stimulates them and should always be paying attention to their dogs in the park. There are way too many owners sitting on their phones while their dogs run around the park. You may know your own dog, but you don’t know the temperament of the other dogs there.

  • Sounds like the guy was reasonable. Stayed around, asked if you were ok.

    There is inherent risks in dog parks, especially the S st. which is so small and overcrowded. In fact, I think there should be a dog AND people limit in the park. Sometimes there are 3+ people per dog, which causes its own issues.

    Unless your dog is critically injured, you saw exactly what happened, there are witnesses, and you’re positive of the aggression of the offending dog, please don’t ruin this dogs life. As dog owners, esp owners living in a densely populated city, we have to assume some risk. I would recommend a catastrophic pet insurance plan for issues like this. We have one for this reason among other city pet issues.

    • YES! People need to educate themselves. Hopefully the person responsible will offer to pay any damages if appropriate, but it should be that person’s choice. I am disappointed with many of the comments here that are quick to judge and blame without having all the facts. As this commenter said — if you know exactly what happened, there were witnesses, and you’re positive that the offending dog is a serious danger to public safety, go forward. Otherwise, leave them alone. I am totally unclear about why the OP wants to contact the other owner. What is the point? If you want them to pay for your dog’s injuries, say so in the post. Pet insurance is amazing, you should have it anyway.

      And +1000 to the comment about the limit on people and dogs in the parks. I also think there should be optional/available training sessions about how to spot early signs of distress and conflict in dogs for all park-goers. I would contribute to that.

  • ?

    So the bite was so minor (no blood etc) that you couldn’t tell there was a bite until you took your dog to the vet?

    Oh, and despite the guy who owned the dog doing the right thing, staying with you after the attract etc, you are now trying to find him…for what possible reason? If you or your vet are worried about the “gumming” your dog got from another, then make sure his vaccinations are up to par. What possible use at this point could this exercise solve?

    Dog parks are dangerous. Never taken my dog to one, and never will. I am shocked that in DC they’ve become the new equivalent of the corner wine bar, but dozens of random dogs (being controlled by people who frankly are ill equipped dog owners and shouldn’t have them, off leash in confined space is a dangerous thing and I am shocked every time someone gets irate that their dog was victim of some rough play by another dog.

    • What makes you think the dog only got a “gumming”? I’d imagine any reasonable person who goes to the dog park knows that dogs “gum” each other all the time and this owner is only trying to track down this info because the dog was injured, hence the comment about needing to know about the “health of the dog.”

      Most dogs don’t bleed right away after a puncture wound, so it’s not surprising they didn’t notice blood right away.

      Why does everyone jump to the assumption that this is about a lawsuit? I find it incredibly more likely that this person just wants to make sure their dog is ok and that the other dog’s owner knows what happened, so he can try to prevent something like this happening again in the future.

      • I’m not sure what information they would need health wise. If their dog is up to date in its shots, then there shouldn’t be any risk. Even in a worst case scenario where the offending dog had rabies, OP’s dog should be protected.

        It’s also unclear to me the level of concern from OP when they couldn’t even notice the bite until the Vet looked at it. I would have to assume contacting the individual would be for financial purposes. As discussed above, I would recommend such recourse for the most serious of incidents. Again, dog parks pose inherent risks.

        another topic we could all discuss are people who bring strollers and children into a dog park – where would the liability be for that situation?

  • I really don’t understand the entire dog park concept in dc, or the dmv for that matter. In other communites where I have lived a dog park is a large grassy area or miles of trails where dogs only interact if both owners allow it. There is usually more than enough room for dozens of dogs to do their own thing or interact in small groups.

    Dc dogparks are like the thunderdome. I never use them unless there are fewer than 5 dogs. I’ve literally had people get offended if I leave or if I keep my dog on a leash.

  • For any new or prospective dog owners who are now totally freaked out about dog parks and are wondering if they are all dangerous, well, life is dangerous. There are basic dog indicators that are pretty easy to read about friendliness, aggression, shyness and enthusiasm for play. Most dogs are highly social and time at the dog park contributes tremendously to their well-being. Especially for dogs that are adopted from neglect or long-term shelter situations, it’s where they can go to learn manners from the other dogs. Go to the dog park, check out whose there. If it seems too crowded or there is a dog the appears to be “hunting” along the entryway, keep on walking. Once in the park, keep an eye on your dog and the others. Don’t fuss too much over how they are playing, even the very vocal disagreements about tennis ball custody usually get worked out without humans intervening. Being a regular is the best way to keep track of the other owners and dogs; dogs that have become friends will form a positive pack that doesn’t allow a singular aggressive dog to mess with them.

    • Sorry dude, but people should be concerned about dog parks. How is it natural for a dog to be taken to a tiny dirt-laden area and thrown into a pen with a bunch of other dogs with nowhere to go and nothing to do but confront one another. The dog parks in this area are too small, too dirty, and too often populated by people who think it’s best for dogs to work out their own problems and not interfere. This is a recipe for disaster as the OP unfortunately found out too late.

  • I REALLY take issue with this post. This is one side of a an alleged incident, corroborated only by the OP. It could be 100% accurate or 100% false or most likely somewhere in the middle. Yet, the accused has been publicly identified and is being tried on the pages of Popville even though by all accounts he acted responsibly. Let’s just hope a completely innocent Australian Shepherd owner isn’t subjected to accusations and threats by those who may have seen this post if he happens to be near the S Street dog park.

  • Dogs fight, dogs bite each other, does not mean the biting dog is to blame or is liable. It is natural for dogs to fight. If I were the biting dog’s owner I would not feel compelled to pay vet bills etc. Your dog is fine, you are just being a precious entitled DC dog owner. Get over it.

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