A fatal dog attack on the sidewalk at North Henry Street near Nassau Avenue has left a local pet parent grieving the loss of her small dog and local dog owners on edge.
On Friday, July 24, 32-year-old Jamie Johns was walking her 17 pound Chihuahua mix, Anna Wintour, around 7:45 p.m. As they walked up North Henry, they saw a woman, a familiar neighbor, crossing with two large dogs at Nassau. Jamie decided to hang back, and protect her dog, but the neighbor approached her and one of her dogs, a cane corso, lunged for Anna, Jamie recalls.
“The black dog ripped my dog apart, like a dog when it gets a toy and shakes it,” Jamie says. The owner could not control the dog or get it to let go of Anna, and a man off the street eventually grabbed the dog from behind its neck, dropping Anna on the pavement, bleeding, her organs and intestines exposed. The vicious dog’s owner “just standing there, doing nothing, not helping me,” Jamie says.
Only having grabbed her keys before the brief walk, Jamie was screaming for help, worried about hurting the dog more by picking her up. Hearing Jamie’s cries for help, a good samaritan wrapped Anna in a blanket, gave her water, and drove as fast as he could” to the nearest emergency vet, VERG in Downtown Brooklyn.
“She was almost gone by the time we got there,” Jamie says. The vet couldn’t resuscitate Anna, who had suffered too much trauma and too much damage to survive.
“My fiancé and I heard a woman screaming so we rushed outside,” recalls Claudia, a North Henry Street resident and witness to the attack. “There were many people outside and the scene we came upon was horrendous. A small dog [Anna] lay on its side bleeding and her owner [Jamie] was on her knees beside her screaming for help. An older woman with red hair and two large mastiff type dogs was trying to walk away quickly. One dog had blood all over his face from attacking the small docile dog. I yelled out to ask where the woman with the dangerous dogs was going, and I was told by other witnesses that, ‘She was going to come back.'”
Covered in blood, Jamie had to wait at the vet for cremation paperwork, before returning to the scene, where the owner was nowhere to be found. She spoke with two officers at the 94th Precinct, who said they couldn’t do much, legally, since the incident involved a dog attacking another dog, not a human.
The violent dog’s owner texted Jamie, saying he felt bad about what happened, and offering to cover the vet bills. At that point, all Jamie wanted to confirm was that the dog was up to date on its rabies shot, since she noticed a puncture on her hand, presumably from trying to save Anna. And with Anna gone, Jamie wants to make sure more neighborhood pets aren’t at risk.
“We never even take [our dogs] out. But it was so hot so we had to take them out for some exercise,” dog owner William Mikulak, whose wife was walking the dog that killed Anna, told the Daily News. “I’m an animal lover. But I’m not taking blame for this. They were on the leash. I don’t know what happened. Animals fight all the time.”
“This was not a bite, this was not a fight, it’s insane they would claim that, this was an attack,” Jamie says of the incident. She’s heard from other neighbors that this dog has a violent history, and she and a team of neighbors are now flyering in the neighborhood to warn them of the violent dog.
“I feel strongly that this could have been any dog who crossed this dog’s path, the neighborhood isn’t safe until something changes,” she says. After talking to the NYPD, ASPCA and animal control, Jamie found there’s no legal way to remove the dog from the neighborhood, and no way to prevent a similar incident from happening again. New York law classifies the incident as a civil suit, which classifies her dog as property worth $400, the adoption fee she paid years ago. She also plans to sue the owners for the trauma she’s currently suffering from, “because I watched my dog die a very needless and violent death.”
Over 200 flyers have been posted so far, and Jamie has also begun a dangerous dog proceeding, which can mandate specific safety stipulations on ownership of a violent dog. More than encouraging neighbors to avoid a potentially lethal dog, Jamie also wants to change the law, to prevent future incidents. She’s reached out to a handful of local reps, noting that this non-partisan issue can easily change the law to protect both pets and the community when a violent incident happens, including more severe repercussions for owners of violent dogs.
“I’m devastated,” Jamie says. “I feel like my dog was stolen away from me. She was the most gentle and sweet and silly dog. and brought so much joy to my life and the people around me. I want to do everything I can to make sure she is remembered.”