NEW YORK CITY, NY - A LARGE PIT BULL ATTACKED 14-YEAR-OLD PUG "SIDNEY" AS SHE WENT FOR A WALK WITH HER OWNER FAMOUS PUNK ROCK PHOTOGRAPHER ROBERTA BAYLEY - SIDNEY DIED FROM HER INJURIES
Roberta Bayley, the famous punk rock photographer, was taking her little pug, Sidney, for her morning walk over to the Washington Square Park dog run last Saturday.
As they stepped out of Bayley’s building on St. Mark’s Place between Third and Second Aves. around 8 a.m., she noticed a young man sleeping on a couch out in front with an EXTREMELY LARGE PIT BULL next to him. Bayley thinks the dog was on a loose leash, but she’s not sure.
“Crusty punks” — also known as “travelers,” if they migrate about the country — regularly hang out at the spot, since it’s right next to a $1 pizza joint.
Bayley thought about snapping a picture with her cell phone, but then quickly dropped the idea.
“It was kind of cute,” she said. “I started to reach for my phone. I know I’m a professional photographer, but I can hardly use my iPhone.”
Within that split second, the pit bull — an unneutered brown giant — lunged off the couch. It went straight for Sidney’s throat and, with its iron jaws, clamped down mercilessly.
As Bayley screamed her head off for help, five or six men jumped in and, along with Bayley, tried to free Sidney from the monster’s grip.
“People were bashing the dog on his head with a stick,” she said. “Someone screamed to me, ‘Grab the balls!’ and I squeezed that dog’s balls as hard as I could. He didn’t let go. I tried to pick up his legs, which I was told you’re supposed to do.
“I was just screaming and screaming. Godlis heard me screaming — he couldn’t see what was going on,” she said, referring to her neighbor, another of the East Village’s iconic punk rock photographers.
“I was hysterical,” she said. “Every piece of my strength was trying to help her.”
Sidney only weighed 20 pounds, the pit bull about 100.
“If all those guys hadn’t been there,” she said, “that dog would have been ripped to shreds.”
After they had finally pulled the ferocious pit off of Sidney, the pug was left with a huge flap of skin hanging gruesomely from her ravaged neck. A man volunteered to drive Bayley and the wounded pooch up to the vet, Blue Pearl, at W. 15th St. and Fifth Ave.; but he couldn’t go crosstown due to the Summer Streets program, which had closed Fourth and Lafayette Aves. to traffic, so cyclists and pedestrians could enjoy car-free streets.
“The guy was screaming, ‘It’s an emergency! The dog’s dying!’ ” she said.
Bayley had to carry Sidney from Third to Fifth Ave. to the vet, where they told her she had to take the dog up to their branch at W. 55th St. for surgery. She spoke to The Villager on the phone on Tuesday. Sidney, who was 14, lasted the night after the attack, but unfortunately did not pull through. The vets said they were just going to cut off the hunk of hanging skin and then stitch her back up. Bayley noted that pugs have loose skin, so Sidney likely could have survived that. The dog was intubated and put in an oxygen tent, but still had problems getting enough air. Bayley said pugs normally have trouble breathing, and that the attack and surgery apparently caused the dog’s soft-tissue airways to swell up. The vet told her they were going to perform an emergency tracheotomy, but before it could be done, Sidney died.