NIPOMO, Calif. - A Nipomo family is warning the community to stay safe after they say their dog was attacked unprovoked by two pitbulls in Nipomo Community Park.
Patrick Starr said the incident happened on New Year's Day during what was suppose to be a fun trip to the baseball field with his two sons.
"It's terrifying,” said Starr. “Hearing the sounds and not knowing if your child is okay."
During the outing, he said his 12-year-old son walked to the upper off-lease dog park to get a clean-up bag for their Boston Terrier.
"My son was walking the dog up the stairs and two pitbulls hopped the fence over the dog park and attacked our small dog and him,” Starr said. "It went from a good day in the park to mayhem real quick. It's real unfortunate. You never know what's going to happen."
According to Starr, his son was able to wrestle their dog Ringo away from the pitbulls and came away uninjured.
"We're very thankful our son was okay, not hurt physically,” said Starr. “Our dog on the other had, was severely hurt."
Following the attack, the 8-year-old dog was rushed to a local pet emergency room.
“Our dog was just torn to shreds. I mean bleeding. Multiple lacerations, puncture wounds,” said Starr. “The vet said we were lucky to get him there when we did."
After two surgeries, Ringo came through and is now beginning a long healing process.
“We're going to do everything in our power to bring our dog back to full health,” said Starr. “He's one of our kids as well. We'd do anything for him, so we're doing all we can.”
Immediately after the incident, Starr ran over to the scene and tried to speak with the owner of the pitbulls.
He was shocked at what happened when he came face-to-face with the unknown man.
"I confronted the owner. (He) basically had complete disregard for the situation. We never got an apology. Never got can I help? It was just instantly confrontational. He loaded his dogs up and split."
Before he drove away, Starr was able to take a couple of pictures of the man's car.
According to Starr, it appears to be a newer-model charcoal gray Dodge Charger.
"It would be nice to see that person come forward and take responsibility or any leads would be much appreciated,” said Starr. "We'd love to see the owner of these dogs be held responsible so this doesn't happen to somebody else."
He is hoping people in the community can take precautions the next time they visit the popular park.
“It's definitely a wake up call for me and my family,” said Starr. “We spend a lot of time at this park. This park has always been a safe place for the family to come and sometimes you just never know. You just have to be aware of your surroundings, especially with the kids.”
Starr said he reported the attack to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office and San Luis Obispo County Animal Services.
Without knowing who the pitbull owner is or where the dogs are, authorities are unable to proceed with the case.
Starr added the family has received an overwhelming amount of feedback from the community since word of the situation began to spread around the close-knit town.
"We've had tremendous support and people reaching out from social media and things like that, which is awesome to see,” said Starr.