Once found, the pit-bull mix could be destroyed and its owner face legal consequences.
Resident Julene Lind said “it was no fight” two evenings ago in a south Minneapolis park, when a pit bull mix overpowered a little boy’s hold on its leash, went into full sprint and put an airborne death clamp on one of her three much smaller dogs.
Upon the attack’s swift conclusion, Lind’s beloved Ziggy, a 7-pound Papillon given to her as a puppy eight years ago to commemorate surviving breast cancer treatment, lay in a bloody clump.
“It didn’t take very long for it to kill our dog,” Lind said Tuesday. “We yanked Ziggy up in the air in an attempt to save her, and the pit went airborne and snatched her.”
Lind’s husband, Steve Rosch, was also bitten and “did everything he could. The dog would not release. Then it walked back over to its family, his job well done.”
As the kill on Easter evening was executed in Martin Luther King Park, between 40th and 42nd streets along Nicollet Avenue, the larger dog’s owner and four small children with her were just a few feet away.
“They watched their dog rip our dog up,” Lind said, worried for how this scene might affect the children.
Lind said the dog’s owner “never did anything” during the entire incident, and “I was in a frenzy. I was using profanity. The only thing she told me to do was to stop swearing.”
Rosch scooped up Ziggy and ran toward their home nearby, located above the Nicollet Ace Hardware, which they own. She said he was hoping against hope that Ziggy could be saved.
Lind called 911 and told the other woman to stay put until police arrived, but she left with a baby strapped to her chest and the other children and the larger dog in tow.
Husband bitten, bloodied
The scrum also left Rosch with four puncture wounds on his left forearm and Ziggy’s blood splattered on his shirt. “He was running the alleys, and I stayed with the other two dogs,” said Lind, who had all her pets on leashes. “It was very chaotic.”
She said her husband will not be treated for possible rabies infection, noting, “It was a family dog. The odds that this dog had rabies are slim to none.”
Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto said action against the dog by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control could be as serious as having the animal destroyed. The woman could be charged with a petty misdemeanor for violating the leash ordinance or something more serious, depending on what investigators learn about the woman’s response -- or lack thereof -- during the attack.
Dawn Sommers, spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board added, “Bottom line is dogs in parks need to be on a leash and in control of the owner,” she said, emphasizing “control” as “a key thing.”
City officials have made a plea for the public to help them find the woman and her dog, described as a pit bull-boxer mix. They say she walked east and onto a footbridge along 40th Street that goes over Interstate 35W, the same path she and the children took to the park.
Lind sensed there could be trouble on the warm spring evening, saying she’s had close calls with dogs before in that park.
“A little boy was holding the dog on a leash,” she said, recalling the moment she spotted the bigger dog and the boy weighing less than the animal. “But he couldn’t hold the dog, and the leash just flew out of his hands.”
The attack prompted Lind to go to an online neighborhood forum and warn others about bringing their dogs to MLK Park, writing, “We feel this park is much too dangerous to walk small dogs please be wary. We thought we were extra careful but could not stop the attack nor could the boxer pit family as they stood and watched their dog kill ours. … Only the very small boy said he was sorry.”