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.
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.