Inwood Dog Attack

so sad to say that an Inwood pup was attacked and killed by another dog here in the neighborhood.  below is the neighbor’s account of the incident, and steps to take if you or someone you know is in this situation:

Two days ago a large mastiff mix belonging to one of my neighbors killed another neighbor’s small poodle outside of our building. The Mastiff owner has a history of owning vicious dogs, and there is a long paper trail asking the manager of our (rental ) building to intervene. I live across the hall with my husband three year old, and I have been worried about the man and his dogs for a long time.  I’ve made many requests to the city and the building manager for help.

After the attack, the police banged on the dog owner’s door with night sticks, but he would not answer.  They would not take a report, because they said “it’s a civil matter.”

The next 24 hours were a flurry of phone calls to various city agencies by the owner of the dead dog and me.  All of them directed us to someone else.  The ASPCA said they only handled abuse cases.  The Health Dept said to call the ASPCA.  The police reiterated, many times, that they could not help us.  The dog owner, already traumatized and grieving, was starting to feel even worse.  On top of that, the owner of the Mastiff let a dog walker take him out the following morning *without telling the dog walker that the previous night he had killed a dog.*

All of us lay awake that night wondering if someone’s child or even an adult might be next.  My husband and I, about 4 years ago, saved a man’s life who was being mauled in a park in Los Angeles by another large mastiff/ pit bull mix.  We saw what kind of damage a dog that size can do, so we tried to alert everyone.

Yesterday, I decided not to give up on the NYPD, and I called the 34th looking for a detective.  Again, I got the run-around.  “This is a civil issue.  The dog is considered property in New York, and his owners have rights too.”  I blew up at the detective, telling him that my child lives across the hall from this dog, and that if his family lived here, he would never settle for the kind of answers he was giving me.   I told him to transfer me to Dep. Inspector Capul, CO of the 34th Precinct. CO Capul knows who I am, but only because I have attended precinct meetings and complained about noise in my area.  I got into another argument with an officer who answered, demanding that someone take this seriously, and he said he would relay the message.

An hour later, two sergeants and another officer came to my apartment and met with me and the owner of the dog who was killed.  We learned some things from them about how to navigate the system when public safety is at stake, and I wanted to share. They were Sergeants Debold and McGuire of the 34th Precinct – they were helpful, smart, and understanding.

  1. Any time a dog is a threat out in public, call 911 and report it as “an unleashed vicious dog.”    Those are the exact words to use.
  2. If your dog is attacked by another dog, the city takes no official action.  They consider dogs property, not an actual life, (this law obviously needs to change). However, if YOU are in any way injured, you must say that you were “bitten,” not scratched, or bruised, but “bitten” and an entirely new process starts, putting the ASPCA and a division of the Health Dept on the case.
  3. Most importantly, I was reminded that when you know you’re doing the right thing, and you’re getting the run-around from the city, do not give up.  Raise hell until you find a thinking person who responds.

The police filed a report stating that the owner was injured and that the dog was vicious and unleashed (both true, but things that we thought were peripheral), which starts an important process and paper trail within the city. Then the building owner, faced with threats from us tenants, demanded that the owner get rid of the dog in 24 hours.  The last I heard, the Humane Society was coming to remove the dog.

Also, here is a link which spells out some of the legal issues:  http://www.urbanhound.com/houndLaw/ShowAnswer.asp?QID=126

Thanks,

Jennifer

our condolences to the owner who lost their beloved pooch, and kudos to Jennifer for NOT GIVING UP, and for putting a stick up the 34th’s ass until she got results.

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3 comments

  1. Jennifer

    Hi, This is the author of the piece – I have a correction. If you are bitten, it is not the ASPCA but Animal Control that starts the process of dealing with the dog. The ASPCA only handles abuse cases. I was mistaken.

  2. J.

    Thanks for posting this! I really can’t believe that there’s nothing you can do if your dog is killed by another dog. Just ridiculous.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Z. Condolences to the folks who lost their pet. Glad to hear that there are folks like Jennifer out there who stand up for her neighbors and help keep Inwood a great place to live. I hope this gets resolved quickly.

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