Austin family struggles after dog killed at Austin Dog Park - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Austin family struggles after dog killed at Austin Dog Park


AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC)- Dog parks seem to be popping up in every city, giving your pet the chance to run around and enjoy the outdoors in a seemingly safe environment. Yet, for one dog owner, a trip to the Austin Dog Park provided no such safety as her dog was victim of a brutal attack.

A trip to the dog park was the highlight of Taz's day.

"She loved to go to the dog park," explains Mary Mangskau of Austin. "I had to spell it out otherwise if I said 'dog park' to my husband, she gets so excited."

Mary and her bichon took a trip to the park on Saturday and everything seemed normal, until Taz started to play with other dogs. That playing turned aggressive, and soon a black lab latched onto Taz's throat.

"I tried to pull her jaws apart," explains Mangskau, "and I finally got them apart and she just laid there on the ground."

It was not until a day later that Taz passed away from the injuries, a moment that now has her and her husband reeling.

"We're not doing very well," says Mangskau. "It's just like losing your child, I guess."

Dog parks are meant to be a time of enjoyment for pets and their owners, spending time outdoors and socializing with other pets. There are things you can do in order to keep that time incident-free.

"The best thing to do is to be able to call your dog to you and keep moving," says Carla Ladd, a certified dog trainer with Ladd K9 in Spring Valley. "That's a really, really big key. If you can keep moving yourself, your dog isn't going to feel the need to protect you or protect your space."

It is always important to be aware of barking, biting or any aggressive behavior, but keeping track of more than just your dog is a tough task.

"It's, unfortunately, a lot like bullying at school," says Ladd. "You can't control what the other child is doing in that instance, right at that time."

For Mary, that instance will be with her forever.

"It only takes one time for your dog and it could be dead," says Mangskau. "I won't ever take my dog back there just because."

In the rules at the Austin Dog Park, it states that owners bring their dogs to the park at their own risk, but Mary never thought that risk would be an attack by other dogs enjoying the park like Taz.


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