Owner: Dog needed 3 surgeries after park fight

Posted at 11:04 PM, May 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 02:04:48-04

A fun trip to play at a Gilbert dog park ended with a vicious dog attack that almost killed an animal.

April Nielsen said she took Atticus, her Golden Doodle, to Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert. It's a very popular park, and a favorite among dog lovers.

She was tossing the tennis ball for her dog and playing, when another dog decided to join in the fun. With each toss, it turned into a competition between the animals and the growling began.

"As soon as they would approach the ball, I would hear an 'arrr' and the other dog would respond back with 'grrrr,'" Nielsen said. "He would snap back, and the snapping started. You could hear the mouth going 'chomp chomp.'"

She decided it was time to leave. As she turned to get her dog's leash, she addressed the owner of the aggressive dog, telling her she needed to get her dog under control, and call him back. Nielsen said the woman was simply sitting in a covered patio area of the dog park, playing with her phone.

As Nielsen turned her back, the aggressive dog picked her dog up by the neck, and the nightmare attack began.

"There were vicious growling noises, people screaming, just chaos," said Nielsen.

She said an "angel" appeared and pulled her dog up and carried him away from the vicious dog, took off his shirt, and tied it around the bleeding dog's leg as a tourniquet.

Nielsen said her dog had several puncture wounds on his head and neck, a broken rib, and his skin was ripped back from his paw to the top of his leg. It was a very bloody and disturbing sight.

At the time, the owner of the vicious dog had given Nielsen her phone number and offered to help pay for medical expenses, but now she won't return her calls.

Three surgeries and $10,000 later,  Nielsen has been able to save Atticus's life--but is getting deeper in debt.  The woman on disability struggles with MS and diabetes, and the expenses have taken a toll on her.

Nielsen said Gilbert police would not file a report as they said dog parks were an "enter at your own risk" establishment. In fact, a sign on the fence warns dog owners, that they would indeed be liable for any injuries to their dog, just as it warned dog owners to watch their aggressive dogs.

ABC15 News contacted the owner of the vicious dog.  She called us back, but refused to answer questions, cursed and hung up the phone.

If you would like to donate to help with Atticus' medical bills, you can do so through a GoFundMe page.