A New York City couple says their puppy was viciously attacked by another dog on the street, and the attacking dog and its owner fled, leaving the couple concerned for the safety of others in the neighborhood and at a loss as to how to hold the other party responsible for the physical trauma incurred.
Tim Bremer said he was walking his and his fiancee's 5-month-old puppy Barnaby on the Lower East Side Tuesday night when they encountered a pit bull near Rivington and Clinton.
The leashed pit bull and its apparent owner were standing in front of a grocery store, and as Bremer walked past with Barnaby, the pit bull lunged across the sidewalk and grabbed Barnaby by the leg with its jaw.
"I thought, how can I get this dog to release my puppy the quickest way?" recounted Bremer. He said reacted instantly, prying open the pit bull's mouth to release Barnaby. In the process, he sustained about 26 bite marks.
After Barnaby was released, he fled down the street, and Bremer chased after him. During that time, the pit bull and the woman who had him on the leash left the scene.
Bremer has had to get four rounds of rabies shots and other vaccinations because he doesn't have a shots record for the attacking dog. The traumatized Barnaby has three fractures in his leg and now walks with a limp. Bremer and his fiancee say the emotional toll is worse.
"I'm afraid to take Barnaby on the street because I don't know whose dog it was," said Bremer's finacee Christine Mancuso. "I don't know if that dog will be there again."
The couple said police told them they couldn't get involved because it was a civil matter. But beyond the thousands of dollars they've spent on veterinarian and medical bills, Bremer and Mancuso are concerned about potential attacks on other pets or children in the dense neighborhood.
Security expert and former NYPD officer Manny Gomez said he doesn't see any criminal behavior on the part of the pit bull's owner.
"There wasn't any reckless behavior. The dog was on a leash, the owner clearly had control of the dog and tried to maintain control of the dog during this attack," he said. "So I don't see anything criminal here. Civilly, yes. There's absolutely a civil suit."
"You can't control a dog 24/7, but you have to step up as a pet owner," said Gomez.
Bremer and Mancuo wants to see owners held more accountable by the city. They said they're looking to locate the pit bull's owner and at least find out if the dog has been vaccinated for theirs and Barnaby's safety.