A grieving pet owner is calling for change at Eden Prairie's Flying Cloud Dog Park after her 6-pound Yorkshire terrier was attacked and killed by a bigger dog on Monday.
Unlike some dog parks in the metro, there are no separate areas for large and small four-legged friends. Now, the owner of the dog that was killed is making it her mission to ensure something like this does not happen to someone else.
"We didn't even get within the gate, and he wasn't even off the leash," Tessie Brandbury recalled. "A pit bull grabbed him by the stomach and by the neck and shook him around like a chew toy."
Brandbury told FOX 9 News she instinctively tried to pry her dog, Winston, from the jaws of the larger dog.
"Without even thinking, I jumped on the pit bull and put my knee on him and tried to pull him off," Brandbury said. "Just was screaming for help and everyone but the owner came over to help me."
By the time the tiny Yorkie arrived at the Animal ER less than a mile away, Winston had bled to death.
Witnesses at the park said they'd never seen anything like it before.
"All I heard was a yelp and a scream, and then I saw what actually happened," Andrew Deal said. "[The owner's] first reaction was, 'Now this is another park we can't come to,' is what he said. It took a little while to leave. He said, 'I can't believe my dog would have bitten some other dog.'"
That reaction adds to Bradbury's pain as she copes with the trauma of losing her pet.
"Honestly, the one thing I would say is: 'Where were you when this happened? It's your responsibility," she said.
The owner of the pit bull told FOX 9 News he trusts his two young daughters to play with the 8-year-old named Diamond, and he admitted that his family left the park after the incident because they were worried the crowd may try to harm his dog. Eden Prairie police confirm the owner reported the incident upon returning home.
Pamela Sherritt said the larger dog had been acting aggressively in the park before Winston and his owner arrived, explaining that she left on another day because the owner wasn't paying close attention.
Sherritt said regular park users plan to start telling the owners of dogs that are acting out to pack up and go to avoid another loss, but Brandbury said she hopes the city will also create a safe zone for small pets.
"Even if it's just a small area, what is the cost to make a family -- or little children or little dogs -- feel safe?" Brandbury asked.
The City of Eden Prairie previously discussed making two separate areas for pooches to play in, but even at an acre, they said the space just wasn't big enough. Eden Prairie police are still investigating the incident.