A pitbull attacked and killed a puppy in Williamsburg in early January, shocking everyone involved. The attack happened quickly, right after the two dogs sniffed each other — the pitbull lunged, bit the puppy and didn’t let go until the puppy died.

Like so many, Rachael Blumenfeld and Barry Sherman, a couple living in Williamsburg, got a “pandemic puppy.” Their puppy, named Pepper, was an American Eskimo and “the sweetest thing,” said Blumenfeld. 

But on January 14, Pepper was bitten and killed by another dog right outside of the couple’s apartment on N. 10th St. and Berry. Pepper was eleven weeks old. 

“It just didn’t occur to us this could happen,” said Blumenfeld, weeks after the unexpected tragedy.

Pepper sitting on Blumenfeld’s lap. Photo courtesy of Rachael Blumenfeld.

Sherman was taking Pepper for a walk and saw an adult dog, a pitbull, right outside his apartment building. He asked the pitbull’s owner if Pepper could say hello and the owner said yes.


“They sniffed and the pitbull just completely lunged. It was over very quickly,” Blumenfeld said. “It was horrific.” 

The owner of the pitbull tried to separate the two dogs, but the pitbull lunged again and bit the seven pound puppy. Blumenfeld said that the pitbull’s owner “seemed shocked” and told Pepper’s owners that their pitbull had never been violent before in the ten years he’d lived with them. The owner compensated the couple for the cost of buying Pepper, and associated costs including puppy play-school and the cremation of Pepper’s body. The owner promised to muzzle the pitbull going forward. 

“I really want people to realize, what we didn’t think about in hindsight, is we really relied on owner’s assurance of the safety of their dog,” said Blumenfeld. “If you see a large pitbull or a large aggressive dog, do not rely on the owner’s assurance that the dog is friendly. You are still taking a risk when you choose to allow your small dog or your child to interact with that dog.” Keeping a safe distance away from unknown dogs of any size, even in Brooklyn where neighbors easily assume all pets are well behaved, is generally recommended to stay safe.

“I think we all want to live in a world where we think all dogs are good dogs,” said Blumenfeld, “But there’s also kind of the reality.”  The couple is planning on getting another dog, “When we are ready emotionally,” said Blumenfeld.

Join the Conversation


    1. The fact is that pit bull-type dogs are descendants of bull-baiting dogs (just look it up). After that blood sport was banned, people began breeding these dogs for… dog fighting. The fact is, no amount of nurture or environmental mitigation is ever going to weed out and get rid of the aggression that the pit bull breed has. The pit bull didn’t choose to be bred for its aggressive, powerful, killing behavior, but humans chose to breed them for dog fighting and it’s going to ALWAYS be in their genetics. That’s why I don’t think these dogs should be continued to be bred. Well-meaning but naive owners (like in this story) get these dogs and don’t understand that they have a killing machine on their hand. All it takes is that 1 time.

  1. It is sad how it is usually a pitbull that does the attacking. A similar situation happened around the corner from my house and the pitbull killed an older chihuahua but the pitbull escaped the dense to do so. Too many dog attacks are happening around the neighborhood. Muzzle up your dog or cross the street if you see someone coming toward you with another dog even if you think your dog is not violent. Some dogs just don’t get along at all.

  2. Pit bulls should be banned. Never trust a pit bull or a pit bull owner to know their pit. They were bred to fight and kill dogs for no reason. Everyone involved in telling people otherwise is getting people and pets maimed and killed. I just read about another family who adopted a pit bull believing all the lies as well. Their child was brutally mauled out of the blue AFTER the child and pit bull had just interacted in a friendly calm way.

  3. My wife Beth & I began logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks on humans for ANIMALS 24-7 in 1982. Since then, pit bulls, accounting for barely 5% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population, have accounted for 58% of human deaths from dog attacks and 76% of disfiguring injuries. The pit bull toll on humans through 2020 included 518 deaths and 5,048 disfigurements, continuing a pattern retrospectively evident at least as far back as 1833.
    Beth & I began logging dog attacks on other animals in 2013. Since then, pit bulls have accounted for 92% of the disabling dog attack injuries to other dogs, 87% of the dog attack deaths of other dogs, 86% of the dog attack deaths of cats, and 77% of the dog attack deaths of other pets and livestock.

  4. Why are the owners of either dog surprised? It’s a pit bull. Pit bulls can be “fine” for years, until one day, snap! And that’s it.

    Some people are just gonna win the Darwin Award. Play stupid games? Ya win stupid prizes.

    1. Pit bull apologist, I see. They’re easy to spot…giant ugly head, stocky figure with a propensity to maul smaller animals and children. Euthanize all pits now

  5. I live in the burbs now, and their numbers are increasing. News outlets do puff pieces when a truckload is shipped in from another state, but they do not report stories like this one. Pit bull attacks are on the rise nationally but the reporting is not.

  6. My condolences to the family of this puppy. What a devastating and traumatic experience!!

    A large dog attacked our medium sized dog at Dandelion during the holidays and the owner literally walked away, didn’t even ask if our dog was okay. I don’t think the owner even noticed because she was too damn busy looking at her phone. Owners need to pay attention to their dogs. I often see owners on their phones at the park while their dog is terrorizing others. It’s just not okay….

  7. The absolute worse is that on north 10th street, north 9th street and on berry I’ve seen several pit bulls unleashed. There is a woman who owns a retriever (also unleashed) but I think she dog sits and has other dog sitter friends in and out of her place constantly. The dogs they bring are usually the same 2 pit bulls I keep seeing. Everyone beware!

  8. Poor little Pepper! What a horrific thing to witness! As a dog owner whose dog has been bit by a young pit bull mix, I am so sorry for the pain and emotional trauma you must have had to endure. I have known and loved many wonderful pit bulls. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know every dog’s story when you meet them on the street and tragic things happen. Don’t blame yourselves. You did what any dog owner would have done.

  9. My 11yr old Corgi-mix was nearly killed by a Pitbull on the sidewalk(Manhattan ave.& Freeman) last year. The Owner was dismissive but the attack was quite bad. I understand one’s inclination/desire to help this breed, but the data doesn’t lie, Pits have been breed/trained for a long/long time to quickly kill other dogs/animals. Be careful around Pit-bulls!

  10. But like wheres the proof of all of yall opinions? Im writing a whole argumentive essay on this and I expect one back to support your statements smh.

  11. Not all pit Bulls are bad. It’s the people who train them to be bad that’s the problem. If you train and raise them the right way they are sweet. We don’t know what life it had before living with its owners

  12. Dogs have been bred for a specific purpose for a long time – rat terriers to hunt rats, grey hounds to chase down rabbits, Irish deerhound to hunt deer, border collies to herd animals, labrador retrievers for hunting ducks, and pit bulls to fight and kill dogs. They were literally selectively bred for their aggressive behavior. Be careful around pit bulls, people!

    People who have pit bulls for pets need to know the unique limitations for having an animal that has aggressive behavioral genetics in their blood.
    They need to 1) Buy a BREAK STICK and 2) Ask themselves if they’re able to physically handle a powerful and tenacious dog such as the pit bull.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *