Our attention was drawn to the El Carmelo kindergarten playground, where it appeared a pit bull or pit bull mix was attacking a small dog. Both dogs were leashed, perhaps to the same pole. The larger dog had the small one in its jaws. The man, presumably the small dog's owner, continued screaming as a woman, presumably the larger dog's owner, shouted at the larger dog and tried to get it to let go. At least two children, one about three years old standing about 10 yards away, and another older child farther away, stood inside the same play area where the dog attack was occurring, watching.
As the man continued shouting and screaming in horror, the woman appeared to pick up something and beat the larger dog about the head with it. The larger dog didn't appear to let go for about 90 seconds, and the woman's beating didn't appear to slow or deter the larger dog at all. The woman stopped beating the dog after whacking it several times. It shook the smaller dog a few times, flapping its body about like a rag doll. After 10 to 15 seconds of continuing to hold the smaller dog's head in its jaws, the larger dog let go and the small dog immediately scampered as far away as its leash allowed it.
We observers could hear the woman tearfully offering the man her contact information as she held the larger dog's collar. We couldn't hear whether he replied. He stayed close to the smaller dog, which was still moving, and still on leash.
Once we saw that the small dog was still alive, we continued on our way. We regret that children, including our own 4- and 7-year-olds, witnessed this traumatic incident--heard the man's screaming and the dog's squeaking and whimpering, watched the woman beating the dog and the dog ignoring her. The entire time we kept asking ourselves, "What can we do? How can we help stop this? Should we have called the police?"
We often walk and bike around Midtown and play at the El Carmelo playground, as this is our neighborhood. The owner appeared to have leashed the large dog, which looked like a pit bull, yet no one was in control of it during the attack.