A nighttime dog walk through Debs Park turns dangerous *

A Mount Washington resident was taking a stroll Wednesday night with his dog, Emmett, an 85-pound Chow-Shepard mix, on a trail above the Audubon Center in Debs Park. They walked around a bend when they encountered a man and a pair of Akitas, who were off leash. The Mount Washington dog owner, whose animal was leashed, asked the other man if the Akitas were friendly. The answer was “No” and within seconds Emmett was in trouble:

“The akitas had my dog pinned on his back and were tearing into him, the guy just stood there. I yelled for him to get his dogs and kicked one of them in the head and pulled it off. Finally he got the other one. My dog is a big strong healthy dog and these dogs dwarfed him. I asked the guy for his phone number for the vet bill – surprise – not a working number. My 85 lb dog has puncture wounds on both sides of his chest and is having surgery tomorrow to have the wounds cleaned and he may need to have the muscle underneath stitched.”

Emmett’s owner said he has been walking his dogs in Deb Park’s park in the evenings  for about seven years now, often walking about four to six times a week. The incident left him shaken – and also facing a $1,000 vet bill – and he wanted to warn other dog owners.  “I love it there, that’s one of the reasons it is all so shocking.”

* Update: Here’s an update on Emmett and a description of those Akitas and their owner from the Mount Washington resident:

“He didn’t need to have the internal stitches, he is bruised and sore but recovering quickly! We have reported the incident to the park police through the Audubon Society. I will also call animal control. It was dark and happened fast but here’s a description: the akitas were black and white mixes. One was bigger than the other and was more whitish with black highlights and the smaller one was more blackish. The owner was a tall broad white guy. I wanted to let people know because had Emmett not been so big and strong who knows how badly he would have been injured.”

Photo by Buz Carter/Flickr


  1. Oh! That’s terrible! Is an account set up where we can help him pay his vet bill???

  2. So someone must know who the asshole with two akitas is. I hope he gets turned in.

    If the owner of the injured dog needs to set up a Paypal account for donations for the surgery, I would contribute a few dollars. 🙁

  3. I don’t appreciate when others walk their dog off-leash in undesignated areas, because it is not a fair fight for the leashed dog. What a jerk. I hope someone in the area can ID this person (can’t be that many people w/ two Akitas who walk off leash in the neighborhood) and help you out. That sounds terrifying. Hope your dog heals up OK.

  4. That is just insane. Stuff like this makes me hate dog owners and their out of control dogs. My dog is friendly and well trained and I would still never let him run in a park like that off-leash. Where do they get off letting two monsters like this run free? I hope your pup heals up and that this asshole is found.

  5. It’s a shame what happened. I own a Rottweiler myself and would never walk him off the leash in public even though he’s a big baby!

    This is the reason why I hate when I go to Silverlake Park and people feel that the whole entire place is a dog park…if you want your dog off the leash, then you should take him to the designated dog area!

  6. I hope Emmett’s owner has reported the attach to the Animal Control on Lacy Street (just off Ave 26, 1 block from Fig). These are the people who should follow up and I hope other people will keep an eye out for the dogs and pass the information along to Animal Control as well.

    As an aside: A lot of people have Paypal accounts but not everyone knows you can send money as a personal gift and the cost is minimal. If it’s sent as a business arrangement, the recipient has to pay to receive it.
    I’ve used paypal to send money to a friend in another country and there was only a cost of $1.50 (for the currency change).
    Good luck to the owner and the dog.

  7. do u know what color the dogs are i jog up there so i can spot the dogs . i see a lot of dog owners with dogs with no leash and had a few dogs come after me bee jogging at the park sence 1985 during that time the park was quiet in the evenings nobody around but me jogging and know i see more people in the park in the evenings walking with there dogs . but i enjoy the good people that walk in the park. plus i am a member of the 932nbc bordmember. neighborhood watch in rosehills “

  8. Let me get this straight – the guy knew his dogs were dangerous and he still had them off leash? That should be a crime. I love dogs but so many owners are incredibly irresponsible.

  9. Below is information for Animal Services that handles Debs park
    Give Them a call on this.
    3201 Lacy Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90031
    FAX 213-847-0555

  10. That is unacceptable! You need to file a police report, and you need to go to Animal Control on Lacy Street and report this there as well. I live next to Debs Park, and if I see this jerk I will discreetly follow him to his car or house and post his license number/address here.

  11. This is the kind of thing that makes all responsible dog owners look bad. And it happens all the time. Our well behaved rottie is always on leash and still he gets charged by well meaning dog owners who don’t understand the basics: that the only way your dog should be off-leash is if you have 100% recall – meaning no matter what your dog encounters your dog will come when called. It is never appropriate for a dog to charge or approach another dog without explicit permission from the owners. And crap like this makes it so much worse – this owner is using his dogs to intimidate and harm other dogs. Please, call Animal Control and report the incident. You are the law-abiding citizen who is entitled to walk in our parks. The guy breaking the law and hurting your dog is absolutely not.

  12. This is terrible, and exactly why I have stopped walking my dogs in Debs Park.

    I had a scary experience a while back where a guy was walking 3 dogs off leash. He was carrying the smallest and the other two were large breed mixes. My dogs were on leash. He saw me as his two dogs ran at us obviously over-excited and apologized to me in broken english. I tried to talk to him about his dogs, but I don’t think he spoke english based on his evasive response. His two big dogs circled us totally out of control and began to mouth on my dogs pulling the skin up from their backs, but not quite breaking it, thank goodness. I don’t think they meant to be aggressive, but they were so over-excited and out of control that with my dog being on a leash things were getting crazy quickly. He had no control at all over his dogs. Exasperated by his impotency, I began to yell at him to get them off us. He dragged them away with difficulty while still holding the third one. About 30 ft away they got loose and came charging at us again almost knocking me down, and this time picking up one of dogs in a mouth. After hysterical screaming on my part (yes, I know – not productive) he finally dragged them away. I called the Park rangers and reported it, and asked if this was a problem in the park. I was told that “no” it wasn’t really – loose dogs were usually not a big deal. Well, having lived in the area for 2 yrs now, it is most definitely a problem. They are not all aggressive, but even a friend’y large dog can be problematic, especially for dogs on leash.

    I really wish this park would get serious about enforcing the leash laws. I don’t care that some people like to walk their dogs off leash – it’s not allowed and it’s dangerous. Go to the fenced dog park for that.

  13. jacqueline Dreager

    I’ve lived in Mont. Hts for 40 years and all of those years have had dogs. I have a male German Shephard who will kill another male. Bottom line…I never let him off leash, and I’m very focused when I walk him. And I don’t walk him in Debs. You can also call General Services Park Ranger. I will also be willing to contribute a few $. I hope the owner of the Akita’s will buck up and make himself known.

  14. Hey Everybody,
    Thanks for the support! Emmett is out of surgery and doing well.
    He didn’t need to have the internal stitches, he is bruised and sore but recovering quickly! We have reported the incident to the park police through the Audubon Society. I will also call animal control. It was dark and happened fast but here’s a description: the akitas were black and white mixes. One was bigger than the other and was more whitish with black highlights and the smaller one was more blackish. The owner was a tall broad white guy. I wanted to let people know because had Emmett not been so big and strong who knows how badly he would have been injured.
    Thanks again to all and to The Eastsider!

  15. Had a husky go after my dog a few days ago. The owner of course swore the dog was friendly. After I broke it up the owner got belligerent with me for doing so which really got my Irish up. The law is clear. If the dog is not on your property behind a secure fence , the animal must be on a leash (dog parks accepted) I love dogs but I would not hesitate to have an aggressive one put down The risk of having it maim or kill is just too great rather like a drunk with a hand gun.

  16. Whoa–I was about to take one of my dogs to Debs for the first time this weekend. Now I am not so sure….

    I have beautiful pits and always walk them on leash, even if they are extremely friendly. I do sometimes worry about other males approaching when I walk my boy. I hope your dog is okay!!!

    This guy clearly should have the Akitas on leash. Not cool.

  17. This happens in Elysian park all the time. Please have your dogs on leash.

  18. This is just horrible. I have a chi I walk in my neighborhood and we were attacked recently when a hugh dog bolted from his yard. I was told he was trying to be friendly but did not seem friendly to me. My dog was fine and no one got bit but I ended up getting hurt. Thank goodness they were the homeowners and have liability insurance. If you are attacked by someone’s dogs if you can get their address you may have some compensation coming your way! People should make sure their dogs are secure in the yard or on a leash at all times.

  19. I am so sorry about what happened and am glad the dog is recovering. What kind of wretched, fetid, brainless human being was that guy? He probably has certain anatomical “limitations” and is trying to make up for it by having ferocious dogs. I hope you are able to track him down and sue his sorry patoot for damages.

    Just as Kasi says above, it happens in Elysian Park all the time. The owners of the off-leash dogs are incredibly insufferable and indignant, they make me nuts. My dogs are always leashed, I finally resorted to behaving as if they are really mean when I see an off-leash dog and their ignorant owner coming my way. Usually, they will leash them if they see the production. My dogs have been attacked on several occasions – always by off-leash dogs and I’ve been really rattled by it. I carry a stun gun now, I hate it, but I’m sick and tired of my dogs being attacked when we are the ones following the rules.

  20. Having your dog bitten get bitten is horrible. I hope E. is healing well!

  21. Are you certain that both dogs were Akitas? There is someone near me with somewaht ferocious dogs and one is an Akita and the other is big and black.

  22. Hi Pat,
    I am not sure they were both akitas, it was dark and happened really fast – and I was completely shocked. I thought they were both akitas until you asked. The smaller one which was the one I pulled off may not have been an akita and it was the black one. This guy said his name was John but considering the phone number didn’t work…

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