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Owner of the dog killed in Mishawaka park attack speaks out

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – The owner of the Yorkie killed after a brutal dog attack at the Prickett Marina Dog Park on Tuesday shared her story with ABC57 to appeal to the community to make the park safer and to defend the three Greyhounds who attacked her pet.

Patty Parker took her dog Tatum to Prickett Marina on Tuesday afternoon at around 3 p.m. and met up with friends who had brought their two Cairn Terriers to the park.  She had entered the park with the owner of the Greyhounds and said she wasn’t at all concerned about the larger dogs interacting with Tatum.

"I had taken him many times to the dog park, I had never, ever, ever had an issue there," Parker explained.  “I saw a Greyhound coming up around him, I wasn’t really afraid.”

Tatum was wandering through the park when Parker called him back.

"He took off running toward me and the dog, the greyhound, took off after him and snatched him," she described.

In a split-second, Parker said there was a chaotic frenzy as the Greyhound shook Tatum in its mouth.  The other two Greyhounds jumped into the attack and also went after the two small Cairn Terriers belonging to Parker’s friends.  She said every person in the park ran to try and break up the brawl.

“It just happened fast, furious, horribly,” she explained.  “I just kept praying, I'm a Christian, I just kept saying God, take care of him God, just take care of him.”

Eventually the dogs were separated.  Parker immediately rushed Tatum to the nearest animal hospital for emergency surgery.

"His one lung was deflated, his chest wall had multiple holes, had some shredding to it," Parker, a Registered Nurse, described.  “His heart was bruised.”

Tatum died at the hospital later on Tuesday evening.  Parkers said the two Cairn Terriers that were also attacked suffered severe cuts, but are expected to survive.

Now Parker is determined to make the park safer, she is pushing for the City of Mishawaka to divide the park and separate small and large dogs.

"I just want to make sure things are corrected and I believe with this tragedy things will be corrected,” she explained.  “It would've been so simple to avoid this."

She also explained that she’s sympathetic towards the Greyhounds that attacked Tatum.  According to the Mishawaka Police Department’s report on the attack the Greyhounds are named Butter Rum, Al Kiowa-Rocky and Bush.  ABC57 has found that they are all retired racing dogs who were adopted through Greyhound rescue agencies.  The Greyhound racing industry has received criticism for training dogs to race by teaching them to attack small animals.

"People have said, do you want those dogs put down?” Parker explained.  “Those dogs killed my dog, but I'm an animal lover and I do believe those dogs did only what they had been trained to do."

St. Joseph County Humane Society officials told Parker that the owner of the Greyhounds should have had the dogs muzzled according to local rules.

The fate of the Greyhounds is still in question.  The Lexus Project, a national organization dedicated to offering legal defense to Greyhounds on “death row,” has told ABC57 that they are attempting to intervene on behalf of the dogs in order to keep them from being put down.

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