An annual celebration of dogs and their owners took a sad turn this year when one dog attacked and fatally injured a smaller dog at the Barker Days event at O'Brien Park in Parker on Sept. 9.
The attack occurred at approximately 10 a.m. near the …
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The attack occurred at approximately 10 a.m. near the baseball fields at the park, according to Parker Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space, Jim Cleveland. He said the aggressive dog was removed from the park, and police confirmed the dog's owners will face charges.
“I heard yelping and knew it was my dog,” said Parker resident Cordy Coady, owner of the 4-year-old miniature Australian shepherd that was killed.
Coady and her husband, Bob, rushed the dog, Colt, to a nearby veterinary clinic, but he didn't have a heartbeat by the time they arrived. Veterinarians told her the dog's carotid artery was likely severed.
Parker Police Department Public Information Officer Josh Hans said the attacking dog was a pit bull, and reports differ about whether it was on a leash.
The department issued a summons to its owners-who were told to leave the park with the dog- for violating the municipal code regarding "disposition of a dangerous dog, cat or domestic animal." If found to be in violation of the code at a Sept. 26 court date, the owners could be required to reimburse the Coady's for veterinary expenses, pay for a replacement pet and license their dog for a period of two years.
Coady said she hopes the offending dog's owner will pay for the veterinary bill. She's already purchased another puppy from the same breeder that sold her Colt.
Cleveland said more than 1,300 dogs attended this year's event and while “minor scraps” are common, a death had never previously occurred.
Staff limits how many animals at a time are admitted, and are trained to remove aggressive animals, Cleveland added. He plans to bring in professionals to train staff members to recognize dangerous behavior for future events.
“When something like this happens it's pretty devastating,” Cleveland said. “We take this very seriously.”
But Cleveland added that dog owners should use good judgment when deciding whether or not to take their canines to a dog park or any other public place.
“Ultimately, it's the dog owner's own responsibility for their pet's behavior,” he said. “If they're not certain it will be well-behaved, maybe it's best they refrain from bringing it.”
A lot of large dogs at the event weren't being controlled, Coady said, and she blames their owners.
“It doesn't matter what kind of dog you have,” she said. “If you aren't sure how your dog is going to behave… leave them at home. I just don't want to see any other dogs get hurt.”
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