Culver City Observer
July 6 - 21, 2006
Letters to the Editor
On Tuesday, June 20th, at approximately 7:45pm, I walked my dog to the Culver City dog park. We'd been going to the park several times a week since it opened and I enjoyed being able to exercise my dog off leash. While we were playing I was viciously attacked by one of the large dogs in the park while trying to protect my dog. The dog bit my left hand as I was trying to get her off of my dog's throat, while its owner looked on without acting. The dog's owner never tried to help me or contain her dog. My hand became painful and started to bleed and swell immediately.
When I questioned the dog's owner, she said her dog had "only attacked one other dog before" and that her dog had all of its shots. She said that she and her dog were "always at the dog park", so if I had any questions I could find her there. She did not give me her name or contact information. The dog had a collar, but I couldn't see the tags. The owner seemed unfazed that this was the second time her dog attached a dog, and now a person at the Culver City dog park.
My hand worsened, so I took my dog home and went to the emergency room at Brotman medical center. The intake nurse there told me that any dog who bites a human and punctures the skin must be quarantined for 10 days to screen for rabies. The medical staff at Brotman debrided and bandaged my wounds, gave me a tetanus shot and prescribed two antibiotics which I took 4 times a day for a week.
I am a physical therapist and I work with disabled veterans. Because of these injuries, I was unable to perform certain aspects of my job for several days. Although I have medical insurance, I am sure that I will have significant bills as a result of this incident.
Our dog park is on the far end of the city without an animal control officer to patrol the park. I have never seen any official check on the dogs. I don't know if the dog that bit me was vaccinated, and there was nothing I could do when the owner wouldn't help me or give me her name. Certainly she did not feel obligated to provide any information, probably because she knew there would be no repercussions for these dangerous attacks.
As a resident of Culver City I am thrilled to have a dog park within walking distance of my home. My dog and I had become "regulars" at the dog park, and for the most part enjoyed our interactions with other dogs and their owners. I am concerned, however, that with so many dogs in one area, and without local animal control, that the injuries I sustained could have been prevented, especially since the owner admitted that her dog had attacked another dog at the park.
If there was an authority to whom the first attack could have been reported, perhaps the second attack, on me, would not have occurred. And by the owner's own admission, since she and her dog are "always at the dog park", is a third attack, possibly on a child or possibly more serious than what I sustained, inevitable?
I attempted to file a police report several days after the incident. When I explained the nature of my complaint, I was told that this was not the business of the Culver City police department, and it was suggested that I bring my concerns to the city council, which I did. I subsequently was able to file a police report, and I also filed a report with the county animal services. My dog and I have not returned to the dog park since this incident occurred.
Regarding the services we receive from the county department of animal control, four months ago, on March 6, 2006 I paid my dog registration fees at city hall. To date, my check has not been cashed, and I have not received my dog tags from the county, although I have a receipt stating my dogs are registered. So, should anything happen to my dog and she was brought to Carson, she would be considered an unregistered dog, although I did my part to register her in March.
I hope that this information will help the city recognize the importance of local animal control, especially now that our dog park is open and in full swing. The public safety of both residents of Culver City and their animals cannot be compromised, and if one serious dog attack can be prevented in our city then resources will have been well spent.