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Who's to blame when dog attacks dog in the park?

Posted at 9:09 PM, Mar 07, 2016

CINCINNATI – Who's to blame when one dog attacks another during a walk in the park?

It's usually not the dogs, some experienced handlers say.

The question came up after a dog attack at Sharon Woods Park Sunday. Allison Cole and her fiancé, Brad Sweeney, say they were walking their 13-week-old Ba-Shar named Moe when a family with another dog stopped them and struck up a conversation about their pets.

But the other family's much bigger dog - a pitbull mix, Cole thought - attacked Moe and sent him to the vet for five hours.

A man walking his dog said he saw the whole thing and came forward to set the record straight. Steve Bowermaster said what happened was not either dog's fault.

"The dog didn't attack. The dog's area was invaded," said Bowermaster.

Even though both animals were on a leash, Bowermaster said the owners let the dogs get too close without knowing how they would react.

Bowermaster identified the larger dog as a Mastiff.

"The small puppy crossed the center line and went over to the Mastiff and started sniffing him. The Mastiff didn't like it, bit him in the lip," Bowermaster said.

"If people let their dog come up to you, you would assume they're friendly."

Bowermaster said he walks his 8-year-old Rottweiler, Brutus, at the park all the time.

"My dog enjoys meeting other dogs," he said, but he added it's important to keep tension on the leash.

Veterinarian and dog trainer Steven Stratemeyer agreed. He says your dog needs to know who's boss.

"I would make sure that I was walking my dog, and my dog wasn't walking me," Stratemeyer said,

Park rangers and the couple were asking for possible video of the attack. As of Monday, no one had come forward with that video.