On Sunday, November 28th, another near-tragedy occurred at Dusty Rhodes Dog Park. Another small dog was attacked by a larger dog and was almost killed.
During the mid-afternoon on that day, Mary Farrell had taken her three small dogs to the park on the outskirts of Ocean Beach – which she does at least weekly, and for a couple of moments, had left her chorkie “Sophie” while she placed her chihuahua in her car. When Mary returned for Sophie, she was in the jaws of a Siberian husky.
Long story short, Sophie was saved from the jaws of death, taken to an animal hospital, had expensive surgery, and is now off the critical list and will survive. Mary is angry though. She never found out – yet – who the owner is, but she is angry that there is no small dog enclosure at Dusty Rhodes. She did post a flier with photos at that dog park at the urging of other dog owners, asking for witnesses.
Before the attack on Sophie, there have been five small dogs killed at Dusty Rhodes.
Sharon Jackson of the Dusty Rhodes Dog Park Recreation Council fired off an email to Councilman Kevin Faulconer, saying:
We’ve needed a small dog area for a long time and, as you know, have raised the funds with which to do it. Our Park & Rec representative, Monica Honore, worked with us to get this before the City Council for the September meetings after a small dog was killed this summer, but nothing has resulted from our efforts. Five small dogs have lost their lives at this dog park, some because there was not an area that was safe for them. This seems to me, and many others who use the park regularly, to be such a simple thing to ask. PLEASE see that our request to put in the fencing to make this division possible is approved NOW.
I have three dogs: a mini-schnauzer, a chihuahua, and a chorkie. I took the dogs to Dusty Rhodes Dog Park this past Sunday afternoon. We were there for about an hour and my dogs had a wonderful time as they always do. About 3 or 3:30, I saw some larger dogs coming in from the other end of the park. Nothing unusual but, since we had been there quite a while and most of the other smaller dogs were leaving, I decided to take my dogs home.
I took my chihuahua to the car (I was parked in handicapped on the Sunset Cliffs side of the park [Mary has a valid handicap placard]) and came back it to get my chorkie, Sophie. She normally waits for me at the gate, in fact she always waits for me at the gate. She wasn’t there. I heard her scream and saw her several hundred feet down the fence in the jaws of a black husky. People were trying to get to her as was I. By the time I did manage to get to her, other large dogs were into pack animal mode and going after her. I was bitten (I don’t know if it was by one of the other dogs or by my Sophie; it doesn’t matter) but I grabbed Sophie who was bleeding and yelling. …
I’ve been taking my dogs to Dusty Rhodes for over two years (Sophie and my chihuahua Keoki are both three) and have never had a problem with the other dogs to this extent. I try to stay right next to my smaller dogs for exactly this reason. This time, I let my little Sophie down.
Sophie was taken to the animal hospital in Mission Valley, where she had surgery on Monday the 29th, and is now home, off the critical list, and improving. Sophie’s surgery cost Mary $4500. Mary had originally adopted Sophie right out of Dusty Rhodes park. Mary told me when I called her, that she is a widow and must sell some stocks her late husband left her in order to pay for all of this. She would like some restitution but knows as long as the husky’s owner is unknown, that is impossible.
Mary told me:
I’d like the fence for the small dog park put up right now. I’m so damn mad that the City Council hasn’t put this through.
Her advice to other small dog owners in the meantime:
Keep your small dog out of the dog park. If you do take them there, make sure your small dog is close to you. If you see larger dogs being aggressive, get your dogs out of the park.