A Rottweiler bit a Staten Island woman’s index finger down to the bone, nearly severing it from her hand, as she tried to break up a scuffle between three dogs at the dog park inside Wolfe’s Pond Park on Saturday, according to police.
Authorities say that the woman’s Pit Bull and a Poodle belonging to another person began to fight inside the dog park at Wolfe’s Pond at approximately 11 a.m. on Saturday. A third dog, a Rottweiler, soon entered the picture, biting the woman’s hand as she apparently tried to separate the fighting dogs.
The victim, Linda Lehmann, 55, was left with her right index finger hanging on by its tendons.
She was attending the Wolfe’s Pond Pooches Association event, Summer Fun Dog Wash, inside the park with her family from Annadale when the incident occurred.
The organization’s president, Doreen Lindstrom, denied that any members from her group were involved in the attack.
“It’s a public park — this had nothing to do with the event,” Ms. Lindstrom said.
She told a similar story to police, saying that the victim had in fact tried to break up the dog fight.
“It wasn’t an attack — it’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the woman’s fault,” Ms. Lindstrom said. “You don’t put your hand in the middle of a dog fight.”
The victim’s husband, Anthony Lehmann, 50, tells a different version, claiming negligence on the part of the group’s organizers.
He says that the Rottweiler did attack his wife as she tried to remove their pet from the dog park, but claims that his wife never put herself in harm’s way.
“My wife has been a dog owner for many years — she knows enough not to get in the middle of a dog fight,” Lehmann said.
He says that his 17-year-old daughter sprayed water on the brawling dogs to initially break them up, and that his wife then entered the fenced-in dog park to retrieve their dog.
Once inside, he said, the Rottweiler attacked his wife.
“She was just helping my daughter out of the pen,” he said. “The dogs weren’t fighting anymore — the Rottweiler just attacked her.”
Doctors at Staten Island University Hospital, Prince’s Bay, will administer 12 rabies shots to Ms. Lehmann, her husband said, because neither he nor the authorities could locate the Rottweiler’s owner in time to find out if the dog had its proper vaccinations.
The husband said his biggest issue was that no one stepped forward to take responsibility for their dog, which would have prevented his wife from going through with the rabies shots.
“The whole thing was an accident, I know — I’m not blaming the organization for my wife’s injury,” he said, adding, “I’m upset that no one from their group helped us find the owner — my wife had to go through a series of very painful shots that could have been avoided.”
“It’s irresponsible of the owner and this organization,” he said.
Ms. Lehmann underwent surgery on her hand Saturday afternoon to reconnect the severed tendons. Doctors expect her to make a full recovery, her husband said.
“She’s pretty banged up, but my wife is resilient.”