A St. Paul woman is warning dog owners to be cautious after her 7-month-old pooch suffered a severe slash from a wrought iron pole in a pond at the Battle Creek dog park in Maplewood.
Jessica Gentner says she's not trying to stir up trouble, just trying to protect other pets from suffering injuries like her dog, Monroe.
Gentner recently started bringing Monroe to the dog park, which has 37 acres of natural habitat, including a wooded area with a rolling terrain that is popular with dog lovers.
"It is a great place to bring dogs for socialization," she said.
The park was once old farm land before it was taken over by Ramsey County and transformed it, but it seems that some of the past may have crept into the present. On Saturday, Monroe was playing with another pooch in a pond when she came out yelping.
"She came up to me and I grabbed her paw because she was holding it up, and she was gushing blood," Gentner recalled. "I couldn't see where it was from."
It turns out that a rod iron post was to blame.
"I was really surprised because she's been in that water every time we've been here and never had a problem before," Gentner said.
Now, she must wear a cone to keep the pup from gnawing at her paw.
"I feel bad for her because it's like she's depressed," Gentner told FOX 9 News. "All she wants to do is play, and she doesn't understand that I've got to keep her from walking on her paw so it doesn't bleed."
This is the first time a dog has been badly injured since the park opened in the early 90s, and the parks department immediately checked the area for hazards after the injury. No others were found, and Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mack said the post may have never been found if it weren't for the drought.
"The water is lower now, so it might be people are going into areas they might not have gone before," he said.
While Gentner said she doesn't expect the county to inspect every inch of the 37 acres, she does believe the water should have been checked before it was opened to dogs.
"This is a pond that is clearly somewhere where dogs are supposed to be able to go into," she said. "Since it is water, they could have done something -- plowed out, checked it somehow."
However, parks officials say that would be unrealistic.
"Our off-leash dog guardians are doing their very best to make sure we don't have any hazards, and for the number of years and sites we have, we've had very limited kinds of injuries reported," Mack said.
Battle Creek dog park is looked after by citizen guardians who report any hazards or concerns to the county. One of the official guardians, Jan Carr, told FOX 9 News they have "consistently been extremely conscientious about promptly removing such hazards."
"They have done everything they can possibly do to make sure the park is safe for dogs and their owners," Carr said, adding that the park is safe and pet owners should not be concerned.