Pet injured and man loses finger in park attack

May 9, 2011 7:34:52 AM PDT
Weeks later, Grace Park's Bichon Frise puppy "Lucy" still bears the scars of a brutal attack by another dog. Park says it all happened so fast she had no warning.

"I set her down and the next thing I knew the dog had come and attacked her on the right side of her neck," Park recalled.

Tom Daniels was also at the Piney Wood Dog Park in Durham that day. He took action.

"He was trying to kill her. It's like when a dog will catch a rabbit. Had it around the neck then shaking it. He wasn't just playing. He was shaking and growling the whole time," said Daniels.

Daniels says he had to grab the attacking bulldog by the neck and pry its jaws open to rescue Lucy.

"She was bleeding. She had a big open wound on her neck, and she was shaking and screaming," said Daniels. "She was bleeding real bad. I thought she was going to die."

Park managed to get Lucy got to the vet just in time. She survived, but spent days under 24-hour care and rang up close to $2,300 in bills.

It's money that Park says she thought she'd get from the other dog's owner. Park says the woman apologized in the hectic moments after the attack.

"She approached me and she said 'I'm so sorry, I'll pay for this,'" said Park.

Park quickly got the woman's name and number. But when she later called, it went straight to voicemail with no identifiers. She kept calling, but no one ever answered and no one returned her messages. She says she thinks the woman made it all up.

"I just kept re-living it and kicking myself for not getting the right information," she said.

Park didn't give up. She went straight to the city's Canine Recreation department. Every dog that uses the park is supposed to be registered. She searched for the woman and anyone with a bulldog mix, but nothing matched.

"I think it's just an integrity issue. It's not that this place is bad, it's just bad owners," said Park.

Other dog owners who spoke with ABC11 agree. On a recent trip to the park, our cameras observed owners keeping a close watch on their pets, unlike the owner involved in the attack, who witnesses say was far away when it began.

"You're expected to keep an eye on them," said Daniels.

Park is now keeping an eye out for the mystery dog owner.

"I really feel like we need closure and justice and resolution in this situation," she said.

Park also wants to thank another man at the park that day who tried to help Lucy that got the tip of his finger bitten off.

The man wants to remain anonymous, but tells ABC11 that doctors were not able to reattach it.

A representative with Durham Parks and Recreation, which oversees the Piney Wood Dog Park, told ABC11 that they have not had an incident like this before. While all dogs have to be registered to use the park, when they searched their data base, they found no match with the bulldog mix or the other dog Park and Daniels say was with the woman: a black and white Boston terrier.

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