By Sabina Mollot
Just two weeks ago, Siddharth Dube didn’t know if his dog was going to survive the surgery he needed after being bitten by another dog. Dube’s dog, a Portuguese water dog, was nearly 14 years old and already had spinal problems, like inflamed discs, prior to being bitten on his upper leg, close to his back as he was being walked in Stuyvesant Town. But after the surgery and six days of recovery at the vet’s office, Dube was told his pet, Lorca, was stable, and could be taken home.
Fortunately, Lorca’s once again able to walk, and this week Dube told Town & Village he is hoping not just for the other dog owner to pay the vet bill, which totaled $6,500, but for Stuy Town management to start some sort of public database of dog bites. The database, he said, could include information like the breed of any dog that bites another.
According to Dube, he’d been walking Lorca on the morning of Monday, June 27 past 19/21 Stuyvesant Oval, when the dog stopped to relieve itself. At the same time another dog owner walked by, a young blonde woman who also had her baby with her in a carriage. “I smiled at her, she smiled at me,” Dube recalled. He was on the phone at the time but quickly turned around when he heard Lorca cry out in pain behind him. “He screamed in agony; it was the worst sound I ever heard,” said Dube.
This is when he saw the other dog, which he described as a brown puggle, biting his pooch, he said. He and the woman attempted to reel back their dogs on their leashes, but when the other dog wouldn’t budge, Dube said he kicked the dog once or twice. Eventually the other dog let go.
Then it was the other dog owner who started screaming, “You kicked my dog! You kicked my dog!” Dube said. “My dog is still screaming and I’m frantic and she’s bawling away.”
Dube said he didn’t ask for the woman’s name or number before heading home because since she had started to cry, he didn’t want to seem aggressive. He also said he didn’t realize at the time how bad Lorca’s injury was since he wasn’t bleeding that much. He soon brought him back home and Lorca seemed okay, eating and then being walked again later. It was only when Dube returned home at around 10 p.m. that evening after going out to dinner with friends when he saw Lorca looking completely lifeless. He promptly called his veterinarian who instructed him to bring in the dog right away.
“She found a deep puncture wound,” Dube said. “I was amazed since the dog wasn’t bleeding.” Then an operation was scheduled.
Following the ordeal, Dube said he thinks the dog that bit Lorca ought to be muzzled as should any dog that’s found to be aggressive.
As for Lorca, he called his own pet very gentle. “I don’t even take him to the dog run, because some dogs pick on old dogs,” he said.
At this time he’s waiting to hear back from the other owner, who, he learned on Monday from management, has been identified by the public safety department and informed that her pet caused another dog injury.
This was five days after he reached out to Stuy Town’s general manager, Rick Hayduk. Dube said he’d reached out to Hayduk after first reaching out to public safety and not hearing back after a week went by.
Dube, who recently moved back to Stuyvesant Town after a 10-year hiatus in the West Village as well as in his native India, said he appreciated the assistance from management and that it made him glad he’s back in the neighborhood.
“Stuyvesant Town is filled with lovely people,” said Dube, who works as a writer and consultant. That’s why we have been happy living here. It’s like the old New York that’s disappeared.”
A spokesperson for StuyTown Property Services, Paula Chirhart, declined to comment on the June 27 incident. However, as far as Dube’s suggestion for a dog bite database, Chirhart said management is always open to suggestions from residents on ways to improve the property.