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Dog Attack at Laguna Beach Dog Park; Owner Seeks Public's Help

Tracy Friedman's beloved Sheltie was attacked by an Akita and Rottweiler, she says.

Malibu, the Sheltie, after an attack at Laguna Beach Dog Park by two dogs. Photo courtesy of Tracy Friedman.
Malibu, the Sheltie, after an attack at Laguna Beach Dog Park by two dogs. Photo courtesy of Tracy Friedman.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A reader wrote to Laguna Beach Patch about a recent mauling her Sheltie experienced from an Akita at the Laguna Beach Dog Park. This is Tracy Friedman's account.

It was a beautiful day at the dog park on April 6, 2014, not crowed at all for a Sunday. Been going there over the years off and on, without any incident. I had been out of town touring colleges with my daughter and my dogs were at the pet hotel, so I thought I would treat them all to a beautiful day at the Laguna Beach dog park.

My dogs and I were on one side of the park. I had a portable water bowl that I kept filling up for the dogs. An Akita kept coming around. The only thing I noticed was my Sheltie was hanging out under the bench where two people were sitting. I thought she was just cooling down, wasn't a hot day? She kept to herself and while she was there just roamed the outer perimeters. I also had two other little ones just roaming around on their own. 

I went to fill up the water bowl, so I left to go across the dog park field. I looked up to check on my dogs and I saw the Akita in a dead run after my Sheltie "Malibu"and Malibu was running as fast she could, and I could tell this was not a fun run. This was an attack chase!

Malibu fell at one point and the Akita started attacking. Mauling her, I am yelling for her to come to me, somehow she able to get away for a moment to get down by the dog entrance and then this black Rottweiler or Rott mixed out of nowhere came up and now they were jointly attacked her over and over again shaking her violently over and over grabbing other parts of her body off the ground and shaking her like a rag doll.

I am screaming for someone to help me and I try to grab pick Malibu to get her out of the attack, but I got bit in the frenzy. I couldn't get the Rottweiler off of her and he/she would not let go. I am using every bit of strength, straddling the Rottweiler which was now trying to finish her off. I use every ounce of energy to pull him off her, but I was no match!

My poor beautiful Sheltie was screaming out in pain and in total fight for her life. Finally, some guy came running and was able to break this dog mouth away from my Sheltie. But too late, damage is done. I am screaming for help. I am asking who owns the black dog,. No one come forward, the lady with Akita took off and by the time we got a blanket around my wounded and whimpering dog, the black Rottweiler and the owner vanished!

Over 30 puncture wounds and five abscesses developed. She was given IV fluid, antibiotics. Half of body's torn up skin was removed and so the vets stretched her skin from her spine to her belly in a patch-quilt fashion just to sew her up. She looked like Frankenstein's poor wife but way worst!

Meanwhile, since I got bit in the dog frenzy, my dog was quarantined and I was fined $100.00. Plus at that point, I had $1200.00 in vet bills and another $155 today because she has become antibiotic-resistant and another procedure was performed today due to antibiotic resistant infected abscesses.

We are waiting on culture results to see if she will respond to a very limited choice of antibiotics that we have left. Because the animal's mouth and teeth carry such bad bacteria and if their teeth are infected due to poor oral health, then it's that much more of a serious problem.

I have been back to the dog park twice. I have posted flyers asking for help. I had someone tell me they heard about it and said someone witnessed it. There were at least four or five witnesses plus the negligent owners. Except I don't know where these people are now? There was no time to ask questions at the time of the attack.

These owners are so very irresponsible to bring their dogs to an off leash dog park, knowing they have aggressive dogs. 

I am hoping and praying my dog will survive this. The vet can not guarantee she will survive what he called a very brutal attack. She was a calendar Sheltie dog for Brookstone and Trout publications. She is the kindest , most gentle animal and often suggested to me she would be a great therapy dog. She loves people, dogs and little children. She always greeted them with kisses. Even when the toddlers hugged her hard around her beautiful furry neck, she never minded at all.

She is is now a patch work of stitches, bruising and permanently damaged skin on her entire half of her.

We go back to the vet every two to three days. I am just so frustrated how these two people ran off with taking any responsibility for the damage they have caused me and my dog. Plus the huge risk other unsuspecting animal owners dogs could be the next target of a viscous attack.

Dog parks are a great and much needed place for the animals to run free and play, but danger is lurking, and I blame the owners not the dogs for what has happened. I don't blame the dog parks. We need them and they are a privilege to have for those who are responsible dog owners. Any one can bring their dog to the dog park, you have no idea, if those owner is up to date on shots, rabies, teeth cleaning. You enter at your own risk.

If I only knew how big the risk was? I blame myself for not reading the signs and being so naive and trusting that people who bring their dogs to a dog park couldn't possibly, knowingly put other dogs at risk for a horrific attack.

I hope this gives you an idea of what happened and the nightmare from April 6 is not over yet. Anything you can do to shed light on this story, so that maybe the owners of the dogs that attacked Malibu will do the right thing, pay for my vet bills, and never let their dog off leash except in their own backyard.

Thank you so much....I will die a broken heart if my Mali doesn't make it, I can live with the ugly scars, but she doesn't deserve this.

Sincerely,

Tracy
Gelene Salter Gutierrez May 29, 2014 at 12:20 AM
I hope your dog recovers. My mothers dog was attacked by a coyote and she looked a great deal like your baby. I can say that my mother's dog recovered and the scars are gone as her fur grew back. It took her a long time to go outside alone. She also has problems with people touching her where the attack occurred. It has been several years and she is doing much better from the emotional and mental trauma.... I hope the dogs that were involved are found. Besides this incident, my mother had another dog who was brutally attacked by two dogs in her front yard. Unfortunately that dog did not make it. The neighbors never apologized for their dogs and my parents ended up suing them... So sad!
Cathy Thompson May 30, 2014 at 11:08 AM
god bless you and the dog and I hope that these pieces of crap come forward and if they don't it will just happen again only next time it might be a kid and I hope they think about that . these witnesses need to come forward and say something . I swear some people don't need to breathe the same air space we do .
Elaina Caswell May 31, 2014 at 09:11 AM
Sending lots of love and prayers for you and your dog. So sorry to hear this. The owners of those dogs are cowards. I hope you find out who they are. Such a tragic thing to go through.

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