A woman has expressed her outrage after her dog was kicked by a man at a popular off-leash dog park in Sydney’s inner south.
Aimee Pitman, 32, described the moment her two-and-a-half-year-old French bulldog, Prince, approached an elderly man who was eating on a bench at the dog park where her pooch was playing off-leash late last month.
She said Prince was just looking for a pat when he approached the man at Crown Park in Waterloo, and put his two front paws on the bench the man was sitting on.
For more Pets related news and videos check out Pets >>
“I turned and called him, to see an old man hit him in the face and kick him, and boy did I have to control myself,” Pitman wrote on social media.
“He is OK, just got a big shock and yelped when it happened. I know people pat him all the time, so he assumes everyone will be the same.
“If you are at a dog park, I think you should be aware that if you are eating food, that this may happen.
“There are plenty of other places to go and eat where no dogs bother you, but by no means does it give you the right to physically abuse an animal.”
Wildlife sanctuary owner speaks out after man attacked by crocodile
How common pet mistake could cost you a $38,000 vet bill
But Pitman’s outrage was not met with the online reaction she expected, with Zetland locals hitting back with claims that the incident was her own fault.
“Only you know your dog is friendly. Nobody else can know that when your dog approaches them,” said one person. However, the same commenter admitted they would also be “furious” and report the man if such an incident involved his own dog.
“The key here is to have a polite dog. There’s a difference. And everyone has a right to enjoy public spaces whether they are on-leash or off-leash for dogs, so don’t question where people decide to sit and eat lunch.”
“A dog park is a place where we can have our dogs off-leash but always under control. Jumping around on other people is not right, (either). I’m sorry he kicked your dog. I’m sure he didn’t deserve that. From now on, focus on training your dog,” another wrote.
“Imagine thinking you’re entitled to let your dog jump all over people just because they’re near an off-leash area. Maybe train your dog like the rest of us do? It’s part of being a responsible pet owner and keeping your pet safe and within the law,” another wrote.
Aimee Pitman, 32, said her young French bulldog Prince just wanted a pat when he was kicked by a man seated at the inner south dog park. Credit: FacebookLocals commented that Crown Park is often used by people who do not have dogs, leading to many instances of low tolerance for pets. Credit: Google Maps
Some quoted the City of Sydney’s dog park etiquette guide, which states pet owners should “keep an eye” on off-leash dogs to prevent unruly behaviour, and that off-leash dogs should “have a reliable recall” and “sit when greeting humans to avoid jumping-up behaviour.”
But Pitman — who described Prince as “harmless”,“the biggest sook” and “as friendly and loving as you can get” — argued that Prince does have a reliable recall, and that he did not actually jump on the man at all.
Others strongly agreed with Pitman that physical violence was an inappropriate response to Prince’s approach.
“This is animal cruelty,” one person wrote. “This makes my blood boil,” another agreed.
“Dogs will come up to you trying to get a feed, it’s just their nature that they don’t deserve to get hit because of it,” another wrote.
“Kicking someone’s child or dog just because they jumped on you or bumped you accidentally does not excuse any form of public aggression,” another wrote.
Others noted that it was not the first time pooch-related tensions had risen at the park, which a number of locals use for more than just pet recreation.
“That is my closest park. People are always getting cranky as they use it to sunbake, have picnics and eat lunch. I often avoid it and take a 10-minute walk to Moore Park (off-leash area) for that reason,” one person wrote.
Australia’s most popular dog names for 2023 revealed
Young boy rushed to hospital after dog attack
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.