Early this morning, around 8 am, I was walking my dog down U Street (near the intersection of Vermont Avenue). A guy walking in front of me slowed down, turned around and said good morning. He was very polite. I responded back, saying good morning. At that point, he reared back his leg and kicked my dog in the side, yelling expletives and shouting that “this is not a dog park!”. I responded by shouting back at him, but as he approached me, I realized engaging with him probably was not smart as I did not know what he was capable of or if he had a weapon. I turned around and walked away and he followed me, continuing to scream at me and my dog. As I tried to get away, I realized this was the habitual “dog kicker” that people talk about here on PoPville, so I figured it was best to get the police involved.
I got a block or so ahead of him and attempted to discretely call the police. When he saw me on the phone, he rushed after me, running through traffic to get to me. I tried to get away and fortunately, the cops arrived a few seconds later. (Huge shout-out and thank you to the Good Samaritans that hopped out of their cars to intervene as well as to DC Police for arriving on the scene so quickly).
The suspect was arrested and is being charged with Simple Assualt and Cruelty to Animals. I was told that he is homeless and a frequent shoplifter. The police knew him well and said he hangs out down U and 14th. He seems to struggle with mental health and substance abuse. While I wish this arrest would provide him the help he needs, I think we all know he will eventually be released and back in the neighborhood.
Sadly, my advice is to remain vigilant and even if someone approaches you to say hello or good morning, be skeptical and hesitant in responding. I wish I had kept walking.
Most importantly — the pup seems to be okay!
Be safe, folks.”