TAMPA — Less than a month after the dog run at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park opened, an attack has left a dog owner grieving.
Moby the Shih Tzu died Feb. 18 in the jaws of a 110 pound Rhodesian ridgeback, said Megan Newcomb, Moby's owner.
Her husband, Michael Pack, took the dog there and was preparing to leave when a dog walker came in with the ridgeback, named Lucius, and another large dog.
Tampa police reports say Lucius sniffed Moby as he entered the dog park, returned to sniff him once more, then seized the 10-pound dog by the neck.
Pack tried to free his pet — grabbing Lucius by the mouth.
He told police the big dog bit him on the hand and then bit 8-year-old Moby again.
Pack jumped on Lucius who dragged him 5 feet before getting loose and biting Pack on the leg.
It was too late for Moby.
"They told us his skull was punctured," Newcomb said.
Hillsborough County Animal Services took Lucius into custody for evaluation, the police report said.
Unlike at some other dog parks, large and small dogs don't have separate areas at Curtis Hixon Park A sign posted at the entrance says owners are responsible for their animals.
"There are standard dog park rules that are posted at every park," said Marsha Carter, a spokeswoman for the city parks department. "It's really up to the dog owners to abide by the rules."
Among those rules: no puppies under 6 months, all dogs have to have tags and vaccinations and no aggressive dogs are allowed.
Newcomb said a separation may have prevented her dog's death.
"If Moby had been attacked by a dog that was his size he wouldn't have died," she said.
Newcomb and Pack don't have any other pets, and she said Moby was like a child to them. They had the gray, black and white dog cremated.
"It's just devastating," she said.
Times staff writer Janet Zink contributed to this report.