An argument between pet owners in New York’s Central Park and alleged fighting between their dogs ended with one of the dogs stabbed to death.
Police say a “verbal dispute” on Saturday between owners began as a couple was out walking their dogs and encountered a man walking three dogs in the park.
Police said the dogs began to fight and the owners began to argue while trying to separate them.
That is when, according to accounts, the man pulled out a switchblade knife and stabbed one of the couple’s dogs.
Police were searching for the suspect by Monday, and no arrests had been announced.
The incident happened at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Reports said the couple, a 51-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman, were walking their two dogs — one of them a pit bull German shepherd mix — with both pets on leashes.
The incident happened during Central Park’s mandatory leashing hours from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Accounts said the suspect stabbed the German shepherd mix.
The suspect allegedly had three dogs, identified as possibly being pit bull terriers, with him and off-leash during the encounter. CNN reported they were on leashes but the owner dropped the leashes allowing the dogs to be free.
CNN identified one of the owners of the dog that was stabbed as Brian Cornwell.
According to Cornwell, at one point during the encounter, the suspect was trying to hit him. Cornwell said he used pepper spray to defend himself.
He said as the leashes became tangled during the altercation, the suspect pulled out the knife to cut the leashes apart and that was when the suspect stabbed the dog.
A witness that the dog was “bleeding out,” and said the owner was “distraught.”
“His wife couldn’t come close to the dog because there was too much blood” on the ground, according to the witness.
The German shepherd mix, named Eli, was rushed to an animal hospital, but later died.
CNN that Cornwell confirmed Eli was euthanized when medical staff found a cancerous mass during an ultrasound.
“I had to make the decision to euthanize him,” he said. “I didn’t want him to suffer,” Cornwell told CNN.
Police said the suspect fled the scene wearing an orange shirt, an orange hat and blue jeans.