Writing has always helped me cope. So after the traumatic dog attack that I experienced I am hopping that writing it all down will help me clear my head and sort through the flood of emotions that I have been experiencing. However, I still debated with myself and my circle of support regarding whether I should post this long account simply because:
1) I do not want to come across as a dog hater. I absolutely adore dogs and to be frank with you, one of the main things that saved me and my dog during this incident was my knowledge of dog behavior. The other thing was that Someone must have been looking out for me.
2) I consider my dog my child, since I have no children yet, and am willing to risk life and limb to keep him safe. Likewise, after this incident, I still have no fear of dogs, large or small, and DO NOT blame the dog at all. I am however, furious at the dog's negligent owners and the way this incident was handled by the NYPD.
3) I do not want to become consumed by an incident, that traumatic as it was to me and my dog, will simply fall on deaf ears. My goal by sharing this incident is to simply bring awareness to how these dangerous and possibly life threatening incidents are being handled by the NYPD.
4) Even though this incident ended well for my dog and I, I can't stop asking myself “what if this had happened to a child?” The streets of Borough Park are filled with children! The incident where this attack happened is only one blocks from a women's health care center that treats women and children, two blocks from a private, all girl's elementary school, a synagogue, a day care center, and four blocks from a large public elementary school whose yard turns into a community playground after school.
So please take a moment to simply read through this account and tell me if I am overreacting.
On 12/19/2012 at around 5pm I was walking my 4year old Yorkie, who weighs around 14lb, down 9th Ave, towards 49th ST. when a fully grown white, male pit bull, with light brown spots, suddenly ran up to us from behind and brushed against me, on my right side, as he lunged for my dog, who was busy sniffing around at my left.
So, this dog basically circled in front of me and attempted to bite my dog. Thinking quickly, and being terrified, I began screaming, and lifted my yelping dog, with his shoulder harness over my head. I must have screamed, at the top of my lungs in the dog's face as I remember his jaws snapping in my face as he lunged for my dog but not biting me in the face.
In fact, witnesses told me that I was screaming at the top of my lungs during the entire ordeal. I believe them since the residents of the building, in which I was in front of (4368 9th Ave.), began to come out as well as passing cars and pedestrians stopped to help. I also woke up with an extremely tense neck and sore throat the next morning.
Of course, at first I saw none of the crowd that was gathering around me. All I remember seeing was the dog and all I remember thinking initially, when my brain registered that such a dog had come upon me was "don't run, don't run!!! and attempting to hold my dog up, over my head, worrying that he was choking to death, and attempting to turn my back to the pit bull as its jaws continued to snap and he continued to lunge at me and my dog.
Since the pit bull could not get to my dog, it began to jump up on me in an attempt to get to my dog. He placed his paws square on my back and my only thought was "don't fall...don't fall...don't fall...if you fall you're dead and "don't let go of the leash...as I continued to scream.
I was desperate for help, terrified both for my own and my dog's life.
As the dog continued to pounce on me I honesty believe that the only thing that kept me from falling over was the amount of adrenaline coursing through me. And I honestly believe the only reason the dog did not bite me was because I never ran, made sudden movements, kept my arms over my head (holding my dog up), and close to my torso, never made eye contact with the dog and I continued to scream.
After a couple attempts to get this dog away from me and my dog, and as the pit bull began to become more aggressive, there was an instant in which I resolved to let the dog bite me if that was what it would take to save my precious Yorkie, who is like a child to me, because under no circumstances was I allowing this dog to have my dog. Basically, he was getting to my dog over my dead body! This decision may seem strange to you but I chose this because in that moment I saw myself being able to deal with a dog bite a whole lot better than the loss of my precious Yorkie.
That was when I hugged my dog, who had up to this point been practically sitting on my head, to my chest and ran for a nearby brick wall. This was only a distance of about 6-8 feet but far enough for a lunging pit bull to grab a hold of me. With my dog pressed firmly in my chest, in a hug sort of hold, I slammed myself into the brick wall so hard the knuckles of my right hand bled, (I noticed later) and braced myself for the dog bite.
The pit bull came after me and jumped up on my back from the right and again attempted to knock me over. When he didn't succeed he jumped on my back a second time, this time pressing me so hard into the wall the sleeves of my thick, padded winter jacket tethered from being scraped against the brick wall so hard.
I waited for the dog to come back but it did not. Slowly I turned my head and saw a woman dragging the dog to the garden fence of the apartment building, which I was in front of, a distance of about four feet. She was barely able to drag the dog and tie him to that fence as she could not hold him. Apparently, she had been walking the dog and lost control of him completely.
Of course I am not surprised by this as she was a small Hispanic woman: height: around 5 ft. I am guessing this as I am 5'4" and she was much shorter than I am. Weight around 100-120lbs. Again I am guessing this as I weigh 175lbs and she was very much smaller compared to me. Age around 50 years, very short light brown hair, etc. In short, she was a very small woman who in no way could control a dog that big and should not have been walking him in the first place. She apologized to me when I asked her if this was her dog and said, "Yes".
My mind was in such a haze that all I could think was to call 911. I managed to find my shoes, which I had lost during the ordeal, and find my phone and call 911. The 911 operator asked me if I had been bitten and I hesitated because I wasn't sure if I was or wasn't. After a few seconds I realized that I must not be bite as I felt no pain and said "no". She told me to wait for the cops and hung up on me.
I waited for the cops in front of the brick wall and she waited by the dog which was still tied to the metal fence. I was afraid to go speak to her as she stood behind the dog, essentially placing it between me and herself, and that dog was still highly agitated and continued to growled and pull towards us in an attempt to get to my dog.
And to tell you the truth I was more concerned about my dog, who was still clutched in my arms, a whole lot more than I was concerned about speaking to her. Still holding my phone, I snapped a few pictures of the pit bull before sitting down, with my back against the brick wall, to check on my dog. The only reason I took the pictures was to show to the cops in case she left before they arrived. I ran my hands frantically over my dog's little body checking his legs to see if they were broken and running my hands up and down his back, sides and stomach to see if he was bite or bleeding using the light from my cellphone which wasn't much. That's when I saw blood and just broke down sobbing. As I sobbed with him in my arms, my little buddy started to lick my face, as he always does when I am sad or crying. That's when I composed myself and started to check him again. This is the first time I noticed the blood wasn't his but my own, from my knuckles which were bleeding. This helped me calm down and we continued to wait.
The only reason she waited was because of the crowd that had gathered. The people who had come out told me that they have seen her with the dog many times and know she can't control it. Many told me that they fear for their small dogs and kids and watch for her before heading out. One lady even gave me her name and phone number in case I needed a witness and told me that the dog lives in her building, building 902 on 44th ST, on the corner of 9th and 44th, basically across the street from where the attack happened.
So we waited and waited, and waited. About an hour later another Hispanic lady and a young man came. This new Hispanic lady was the same height and close to the same age as the lady walking the dog but she was slightly heavier. The young Hispanic man was the same height as the two ladies, much shorter than I am. The two of them walked up to me and I noticed that this second lady looked very much like the first lady...almost like they were sisters. The young man (who was between 18-22 years old) however, was shady. He was wearing an oversized jacket, baggy pants, and had a large, black teardrop tattoo under his left eye! Yes folks..Seriously! And he began by asking me "what the fuck happened?" I only answered him by saying, "I've called 911 so the cops are on their way...I am just going to wait for them" and turned away from him.
He walked over to where the two ladies were standing, next to the dog, and began a conversation with them, in which I was referred to as "the bitch" loud enough for me to hear. After waiting for over an hour, seeing the people from the crowd becoming cold and going back inside their homes, essentially leaving me alone on this dark corner with these people, I called 911 again and again was told to wait.
Once the crowd had thinned out, I watched the lady who had lost control of the dog, walk away nonchalantly. The other two remained. But, once the crowd was gone, around 1 1/2 hrs into this ordeal, he walked up to me again and told me that he had called the cops and they had given him permission to take the dog inside. I told him that when they come I will tell them you left the scene if you leave.
So, he walked back to the lady and the dog and this time the lady came up to me and asked me what I wanted. I told her, first and foremost I wanted to know if this dog belonged to the lady walking it or to her. She said "no! But the owner is coming” when the other lady had said "yes". I said, "I also want to know if this dog is vaccinated?" She said "oh yes yes" and walked over to the young man, said something to him and he went towards building 902. Less than 5 minutes later he came back with a flier for an animal clinic, which of course, told me nothing about whether the dog is vaccinated, and handed it to me. I put the flier in my pocket. He walked over to the lady, they quarreled and he came right back to me, got in my face and told me to give the flier back now! Knowing the flier was no use to me I gave the flier back to him.
Around this time, the crowd was gone, it was past 7pm, and I was beginning to become nervous as the street was not as crowded as it was before either. Luckily, finally, my husband arrived. When he arrived, as he was checking on me and my dog, the two took the dog inside, and came back out and stood in front of the entrance of their building which is located on 44th ST, essentially across the street from us.
Having stood in that street corner, for over two hours, with my scared dog still clutched tight to my chest, under my jacket now since he had started to shiver from the cold and fright, I told my husband, "there's no point. The cops aren't coming." That's when my husband and I walked to the two people and I asked for their names. This is when the young man got in my face and screamed, "Are you the police? Are you the police? You can't ask for my name!" The lady started doing the same, "Are you the police? No!"
By now I was so tired I just decided to go home and call the cops from home. Yes folks! I was so desperate to talk to the police about this ordeal that I called the cops from my home in Brooklyn and asked them to come to my home!!! The cops eventually showed up to my building at 9:30 pm, 4 1/2 hrs after I had first called 911.
I ran down to speak to the two officers, very excited to finally file a report. The only question out of their mouth was, "were you bitten?" As soon as I said “no” they rolled their eyes at me, mumbled to each other something about what a crazy nights its been, told me that "there's been no crime committed" and that "dogs will nip at each other" and "they can't file a report unless a human is bite" and left.
So, the police force that is sworn to "serve and protect" can't be bothered to act or even take a report the one time a law abiding citizen needs their help because this way their precious crime statistics stay low and we can all be told that we are safer now because the statistics say so!!!
Well guess what? This New Yorker doesn't feel safe!!
This New Yorker has lost what little naive faith she had that the NYPD will "serve and protect her".
Why do we not have laws that require police officers to take a report of any dog attack, regardless of whether it's dog on dog, or dog on human, that does not result in a bite, so that the ownership of a dog prone to attacks is established, along with a history of violence, and irresponsible owners can be held accountable?
Why do we have to wait until a dog mauls a child, or an innocent passerby before we act?
The NYPD may be comfortable waiting for this dog to maul a human before they act but I AM NOT!!!
I plan to use the pictures of this dog that I have to create a flier warning the entire neighborhood about this dog. I will pass this flier out to all the businesses, schools and parents in this neighborhood to warn them to keep an eye out for this dog. I will also pass this flier out to the people living in building 902 and speak to the building management regarding their dog policy.
Now if the owner of this dog is reading this post and if he/she has a problem with my planned course of action then by all means, first come forward, claim your dog, explain why he was running lose in this residential neighborhood and putting everyone at risk and then I will be willing to hear your complaint regarding why I should stop taking action and warning my neighbors.