CLINTON HILL, BROOKLYN - A Brooklyn family was sitting at an outdoor cafe when a dog bit their Australian Shepherd and wouldn't let go. Now they're asking for help.
For Jessica Winn, it only took a split second to turn a summer afternoon at an outdoor cafe into a nightmare her family will likely be struggling to deal with weeks down the line.
The former Clinton Hill resident and her 4-year-old daughter were sitting at Putnam's Pub and Cooker on Myrtle Avenue last Wednesday with their dog, Cricket, when suddenly, a dog passing by bit the Australian Shepherd mix and wouldn't let go.
The attack left Cricket with a gaping, infected wound and the family with $10,000 worth of vet bills."One minute I was sipping an iced americano, talking to a friend...The next, my dog was yelping and getting pulled out of the seating area onto the sidewalk, people were running over to try to separate the dogs, and my 4-year-old was crying and screaming 'Don't hurt Cricket!'" Winn recalled in a fundraiser page she set up.
The other dog, which Winn described as a grey PIT BULL about Cricket's size, had clamped down on Cricket's side through the cafe's fence and dragged the three-year-old dog through an opening in the barrier. The Pitbull's owner and Winn's friend did all that they could to pull back on both dogs' leashes to separate the two, she said. But, it ultimately took a bystander punching the Pitbull's nose — and getting a dog bite of his own — before the dog's jaw unlocked.
That bystander, a man named Levar, was one of several that rushed in to help, Winn said. A teenage girl named Armani distracted her daughter, and another group ran Cricket to the animal hospital down the street once she was free and the Putnam staff offered to call for help, she said. Winn is now hoping that same community spirit can help her with the emotional and financial aftermath of the attack.
She has set up a GoFundMe to help raise the $10,000 needed to cover Cricket's vet bills. "This fundraising campaign is in one way a request for financial support, because one minute life was stable and the next we were hemorrhaging money by the thousands at the same rate Cricket's skin was deteriorating," she said. "In another way, it's an attempt to restore what was lost and to make us whole again. It's a hope to connect with the community and not feel so alone while Cricket recovers."
Winn is also extending that sense of community to the owner of the Pit bull, who left shortly after the attack. She said she understands how the owner might have been equally traumatized by the attack and worried what it would mean, either for her dog or for her finances. "I'm sure if she could have taken financial responsibility she probably would have stayed," Winn said. "I think she had good reasons to go."
As for Cricket, her wound was sewn up that night after hours of X-Rays and surgery at the animal hospital. But, the bite mark reopened and became infected in the days since. It now requires Winn to bring Cricket back to the hospital every day to have it cleaned and rewrapped.It has been hard, Winn said, for her and her daughter, Juniper, to watch Cricket deal with the debilitating injury, not to mention the sedatives, antibiotics and protective cone she has been prescribed." (Juniper's) been dressing Cricket up and bringing her animals to make her feel better," Winn said. "But it's too much for her to really process right now."
The money will help cover the $4,000 in medical bills the family has already racked up for the surgeries, stitches and dealing with the infections. It will also cover the future expenses to re-stitch the wound and hopefully let it heal without reopening.
Winn also hopes that she can collaborate with the facility where she adopted Cricket to help spread the word and bring in donations for the adoption center at the same time. When Cricket is all healed, Winn said, she even might throw a party in Fort Greene Park for those that helped out to celebrate. "She's super friendly and super loving," Winn said. "She loves to run at the beach and does all these jumps and flips — I hope she does those again."