A Crescent City man is asking the community to be more careful after an incident with another dog owner, a ball and a baseball bat left his own pet with severe injuries.
Larry Henderson said he was in the large dog side of the Dog Town dog park at Beachfront Park at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 15 with his 2 1/2 year old mixed-breed pup Ginger when the owner of a Jack Russell terrier entered the area from the small dog side with a metal baseball bat and a hard plastic or rubber ball.
According to Henderson, the man tossed the ball up in the air and swung his bat at the same time Ginger attempted to catch the ball. The man hit the ball and Ginger in the mouth, Henderson said.
“The bat, the ball and her mouth all got in the same place at the same time,” Henderson said. “She had just clenched the ball in her mouth. She was a good 4 feet in the air.”
Henderson said he rushed his dog to Four Paws Animal Hospital where the veterinarian gave her pain killers, a steroid shot for shock and antibiotics. On Tuesday, Henderson said, the veterinarian pulled six teeth. He said Ginger lost both upper canines and the vet had to dig several premolars out of her mouth because they had been broken.
The ball, which was in Ginger’s mouth when the bat connected, exited to the right, taking out teeth on that side, Henderson said.
When asked if he reported the incident to the police, Henderson said he was more concerned with getting his dog medical attention. He said as he drove his dog to the vet, he saw the man with the Jack Russell terrier and baseball bat walking across Beachfront Park.
“He did not do it on purpose,” Henderson said of the man with the baseball bat. “I know that for a fact. He apologized — ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, she just came out of nowhere’ — and then he looked down at her and saw, by that time she was laying down with her paws in front of her and her legs were red just from the blood pouring out of her mouth, and he looked at that. As I loaded her into my truck he took off.”
On Wednesday, Henderson said he did speak with a Crescent City Police sergeant, who took down the information, but didn’t file a formal report.
“(The sergeant said) it isn’t a police matter here because there was no criminal intent,” Henderson said. “I’m admitting that. It was an accident.”
Henderson said he has visited Dog Town about five times a week since it opened earlier this year and didn’t recognize the owner of the Jack Russell Terrier.
Ginger is a rescue dog. Henderson said she spent the first year of her life in shelters and his family has had her for about a year.
Henderson, who is retired and lives on a fixed income, said he has been considering creating a Go Fund Me account to raise money for Ginger’s vet bills, which is expected to be about $1,300. If he does, Henderson said he would set his goal at $1,000 and any money raised beyond that goal he would donate to the local animal shelter.
Henderson said he also wants to warn people that “this kind of thing could happen.”
“I think it’s kind of futile to find him and see if he would help with the vet bills,” he said of the man with the baseball bat. “There are signs at the dog park saying ‘enter at your own risk.’ It would have been nice to find the guy, but the real reason I want is to kind of warn other people that go to the dog park that this kind of thing could happen.”
The dog park rules encourage people to use the area at their own risk. The rules also state owners are responsible for their dogs’ behavior including any injuries their dogs cause. Dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting the park, according to the rules, and owners must be within the dog park and supervising their dog with the leash readily available.