Girl Bitten By Pit Bull Recovering With ‘Minor Injuries’; Dog Being ‘Tested and Evaluated’

The corner where it happened.

By Carol Tannenhauser

The seven-year-old girl who was bitten in the face by a homeless woman’s dog while offering the woman money is “doing well and able to attend school,” Captain Neil Zuber, commander of the 20th Precinct, told WSR on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on February 27th, on the southwest corner of 79th Street and Broadway.

“The girl was treated at the hospital and released to her family with minor injuries,” Captain Zuber said. “I sat with her in the Emergency Room for quite a while and she is very sweet, was interacting with us, and shared several laughs with us. (She even drew me a unicorn!)

“The homeless woman was cooperative and voluntarily came to the precinct to aid in the investigation,” the captain continued. “She was not charged with any crimes. The dog was transported from the scene to the SPCA, where it was held for testing and evaluation (still ongoing.)”

Captain Zuber, who took command of  the 20th Precinct in February, said the police “do not have a record of any issues that suggested this would ever happen. Many have said they have had good interactions with the homeless woman and her dog. I’ve not heard anyone say that specific dog was ever aggressive or any kind of problem.”

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. Sarah says:

      I’m glad the little girl is recovering well.

    2. Leon says:

      Thank you very much for the happy update about the girl. I’m glad she is feeling better.

    3. Steven says:

      Sweet little girl ! Happy for her recovery!
      How is the dog being evaluated? Who is to say that the dog will not bite another person?

    4. UWS Res says:

      Great news, for all. Innocent little girl will hopefully not have long term trauma over this incident. Also this is a good dog, I pet & give him treats daily, including the day this happened. No issues at all with him, but the girl should not have her money cup right in front of the dog nor her. The dog, any dog, will ( generally ) protect its owner, as most likely was here. So glad dog will not not be euthanized, (I hope)

      • J says:

        agreed…I”m always SUPER careful with any dog with a child. If the child is about the dog’s approximate height….it’s different than with an adult/larger person….

      • AC says:

        Riverside Park (early 1970s), I was jumped from behind by a German Shepherd. I was six years old. I don’t remember much from being six years old; however, I remember the incident vividly. Till this day, I’m still somewhat frightened of medium/large dogs. i’m not so sure I agree with your statement regarding the young girl not being traumatized. Time will tell.

        • UWS Res says:

          I said Hopefully she is not traumatized. Time will tell but at some point reintroducing her to dogs gradually in a safe environment might be helpful. Disclaimer I’m not psychologist, not her parent, so I’m not making any factual statements on her trauma, just being hopeful

      • Sarah says:

        If the dog doesn’t have a bite history (sounds like not) and temperament tests well with the SPCA, I really hope not.

    5. Cecile says:

      Last year,
      My son was badly bitten by a dog on a leash with its owner near by. Corner of 76 and west end avenue. My son was only 12 and did not think of asking for the owner name and phone number. That lady was too happy to leave the scene.
      With no information on the dog , we had to go 5 times across town to the hospital to get the rabies shot.
      Thanks god we had health insurance but it was still a $600 expense….
      so tell your kids to always ask for the owner reference and take a picture of the dog and owner.

    6. David Rapkin says:

      Of course I am relieved to learn the little girl was not seriously hurt. But I am also pleased to know that the dog/companion of the homeless woman (whom I see frequently on that corner) will not be separated from her dog should it prove disease free.

      I don’t know any details of this particular incident but it’s always good practice to ask if you can touch another person’s animal companion before doing so. It’s more than just good manners.

      • UWS says:

        Agree 100%. I ALWAYS ask before I approach any dog, You can’t assume every dog is Lassie. Of course definitely not saying little girl at fault by any means. As a dog owner, which I am, same breed as this, you need to be responsible & not put your dog in a situation where it’s instincts takes over, nor put someone with good intentions in a bad situation either. Be aware & act responsibly ( dog owner responsibility ) which I take very seriously

    7. Christine says:

      6 months ago I was walking my two dogs on 98th between WEA and Riverside when a dog (on a leash, being walked by its owner) aggressively lunged for my dogs. I intervened by blocking out the dog and it clamped its jaw into the back of my leg, leaving three gaping and bloody holes. It was traumatic; I didn’t fault the dog – I faulted the owner (after I got over my shock); and I’m “glad” it got me and not the neck of either of my 10lbs-ish dogs’ necks. I was also glad it wasn’t a child, or an elderly person.

      That said, when a city dog owner knows his/her dog is crazy/triggered, it’s been my experience the owner/walker generally crosses the street, moves to the curb or has a muzzle on the dog. Bravo. More need to do the same!

      I’m sorry for this child and I’m sorry for the dog. This dog owner (and all dog owners) need to get a grip if they have a dog that’s willing and able to attack and afflict damage.

    8. Glynnis says:

      Thank you for the update. Would be nice to know the dog’s eventual fate, also.

    9. Leila says:

      As an advocate for the homeless with animals and as the person who had this specific dog vetted and neutered a year ago at the request of his very kind, loyal, caring and long suffering owner, I would like to state the following:
      “Jane Doe’s” story is not very different from many of the younger women I meet living on the streets of our beloved city; her life has been filled with countless cruelties and traumas which forced her onto the street at too young an age. If I were to list the things done to this woman as a child, in her own home, you would never stop crying.
      Her dog was her only source of love, comfort and stability. I cannot tell you how many times she told me that were it not for him, she’d not be alive, that she would be ALL alone and that no one would even notice her at all. Yes, the dog helped provide living funds but also unconditional love.
      Of course the child who was bitten has our sympathies- but she has a family to help her through her life, Jane has no one. Her dog would have lay his life down for her and vice versa. Last Thursday, when the incident occurred, it was terribly windy which can set off a dog of any breed and put them more on guard and potentially confuse them a great deal. A hand passing over this dog’s head, toward his human most likely frightened him more.
      It was unfortunate and quite sad however Jane’s only source of love and companionship has been taken to slaughter and no one seems to mention that.
      Imagine for a moment an animal who has NEVER been apart from his/her human. Imagine his terror being pulled from her and put into the city shelter (a place so many of you try to avoid due to the unbearable sadness there)for testing and more likely to await his death.
      Yes, I feel terrible for the child- but worse than that are those who have not one solitary notion of the pain and desolation caused to Jane and her only family- her only love- her only source of goodness amongst so many who overlook her daily. When I say that these dogs often keep their human alive – I am being literal. They are most likely both lost now. Potentially forever. If anyone would like to volunteer and spend a day helping and talking with this population, I invite you to reach out to me and I will gladly take you on an outreach. Unfortunately, in my experience, it is not uncommon for the human in this picture to live only a short time longer than the animal lost to them; the pain and loss is unbearable. Once you understand these things and then recall what happened to Jane and her dog, how they are forever lost to one another- you will begin to understand and perhaps even have some empathy.

      • jf says:

        thank you for an empathetic post — it’s easy to immediately blame the woman (and while she certainly has some portion of blame, it’s too easy to forget her story)

        that said, obviously huge sympathy for the little girl and wishing her all the best in her recovery

      • Jayvee says:

        Thank you for this post. I couldn’t agree more.

    10. The UWS Deserves Better says:

      So someone had a pit bull off its leash on a busy intersection day after day that eventually attacked a person? What a surprise! The fact that this homeless woman is “cooperating” should not absolve her from legal culpability. Not sure whether the dog should be euthanized or not, but do know for damn sure that it’s reckless to allow the dog back in that woman’s custody.

      • jezbel says:

        Here’s the deal, though. That woman is living on the street. She homeless. How are you possibly going to hold a person responsible who clearly hasn’t the ways or means to take care of herself responsible. Put her in jail? What purpose would it serve other than to satisfy someone’s anger? She obviously can’t pay a fine. Wherever she gets the money from to eat and provide food for the dog, it can’t be much. If she had the means she’d be in a room/home of some kind. If she had the mental capacity she’d be in some kind of shelter.
        We have to think globally. Why are poeple living on the streets in the first place. Lets try to solve that problem first. How did the system fail them? How did they fall between the cracks? Provide basic necessities and the rest takes care of itself.

    11. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      great communications style from Captain Zuber… following in footsteps of DI Malin at 20th Precinct. many props… the Precinct Captain sitting with victim in ED, and apparently kind treatment of homeless woman as well.

    12. The Kaiser says:

      Hope the little girl is recovering. I’m familiar with the homeless woman and the dog being in the neighborhood. The dog always seems friendly.

    13. Michael says:

      I love all the comments about “poor dog” or what a nice dog it is or how they pet it or something. This person had their dog off the leash – which is illegal – and the dog bit someone. If you think it’s such a wonderful dog, why don’t you adopt it and take the legal responsibility for it? Otherwise stop praising the dog and start raising funds to help this girl and her family for the trauma she suffered.

      • Pearl says:

        Thank you Michael and all the people who have expressed the same sentiments. I hope the little girl and her mother are okay.

      • Juan says:

        I tend to agree – my focus is 100% on the girl.

        If the dog is returned to the woman, she should have to make a choice – dog or panhandling. By panhandling, she is actively encouraging people to reach over and give her money. Since this is clearly a trigger for her beloved dog, she can’t have it both ways.

        To quote Bob Dylan, “if you ain’t got nothing, you ain’t got nothing to lose.” There should be consequences for actions but I’m not sure what they should be. This woman had her dog off leash and someone suffered for it. She should not be able to just go back to her corner with her dog and move on like nothing happened. The penalty should fit the crime – I’m not saying to give her the chair, but something must be done.

        I generally don’t give money to people on the street but rather donate to organizations that support them. But on the rare occasion that I support someone on the street, after reading about this, I will never give to someone with a dog again. And I am a dog lover.

    14. Chase says:

      Boo the homeless woman. Boo the dog.

      Yay unicorn and Blessings and peace to the girl.

      Is the homeless woman still at 79th?

    15. Kathy says:

      She moved to 85th and broadway. Dog still without muzzle

    16. jezbel says:

      Here’s the deal about dogs and children. Sometimes a dog will perceive a child (with whom it’s not acquainted) as a threat. It sees a little being, not unlike another animal, cat, dog, whatever – and makes the assumption that that little being wants what it has i.e. a bone, toy or food. I’ve seen it many times. When my dog was a puppy she didn’t know how to react to babies & toddlers. I’d not yet had my child and she was totally unfamiliar and would growl as a baby crawled close to her toys.
      I can’t say it was the case here. But it happens.

      • dc says:

        I was at the park one day with my dogs talking to a dog walker as a child approached and asked to pet his dogs. He said no. Then he turned to me and said, “What good can come from it?” He knew that sometimes, the unthinkable just does happen.

    17. Rita says:

      Happy to hear that this little girl is okay! Very traumatic for all concerned. I’m sure the dog was just being protective. I hope the dog is returned to its owner.

      • Joan says:

        I am sorry for the homeless woman’s troubles, but she doesn’t keep the dog on a leash. The dog now has a record of attacking a child. It is illegal to keep a dog off leash. She should not have the dog back.

    18. Brenda says:

      I’m glad she’s okay.

      My 5-pound pathologically passive dog can get very upset if a child sticks their hand in his face. They are animals and not necessarily comfortable with unpredictable human behavior.

    19. MB/UWSer says:

      Wonderful news for the little girl and ALL involved.

    20. sf says:

      Happy that the girl is recovering!

      The women moved to 86th & Broadway with the man related to her who has the second bull dog. My heart missed a beat when I saw a young girl approached the man to give him money.

    21. TR Lansner says:

      I love dogs. But NYC keeps no records of dog attacks. It is great to know the girl is not badly hurt, but we have absolutely no way to determine if this is in fact a dangerous dog. I know because I was bitten a couple of years ago while jogging in Riverside Park. Utterly unprovoked– the hound charged me from thirty yards away, and the owner tried to simply walk away as i sat there a bit shocked and bleeding. She swore that here dog had never ever bitten anyone… But a hound could bite ten people over some years, and there will be no file at all, as I learned fro the Parks and the Police. The City Council should implement a searchable registration of all reported dog bites.

    22. L Warren says:

      The woman dog owner and her dog were on the SE corner of 86th Street and Broadway today (Saturday).
      I don’t understand why this is allowed. As a dog owner myself for more than 30 years, this dog should have been put down after this incident. If the dog attacked once, more than likely it could happen again. And who knows, this may have happened before and we do not know about it.