Investigation underway after witness says dog allegedly waterboarded

Investigation underway after dog allegedly waterboarded at park

UPDATE: Fri. Nov. 9 - RACC not filing charges against man accused of dog abuse. Click here for update.

UPDATE: Thurs. Nov. 1 - RACC has spoken with the man accused in this alleged situation. Click here for update.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Animal Care and Control is investigating a possible dog abuse situation after a woman claims a dog was waterboarded in one of Church Hill’s dog parks.

Hayley Jacobsen, of Church Hill, said she was at the Chimborazo dog park Wednesday between 4:45 and 6 p.m. when she saw a man chase after his Doberman thinking it was eating something dangerous.

“He said I think she's chewing on metal,” Jacobsen said. “He then grabs her by the neck and slams her down on the concrete and gets in her mouth and realizes it's just old crusty grass."

But instead of simply letting the dog go Jacobsen said what happened next left her stunned.

“He grabbed the hose, turned it on, and then proceeded to shove the turned-on hose down the dog’s throat saying, ‘this is what happens when you don’t ‘effing listen to me.’ He was basically waterboarding his dog."

The Doberman ran off to hide behind a table, according to Jacobsen.

When she went to approach the dog to comfort it, she claims the man yelled, “mind your own f***ing business and take care of your own dog.”

“He then grabbed the Doberman, leashed it and dragged it away from the dog park.”

Despite going to the dog park often with her own dogs, Jacobsen said this is the first time she’s seen this man.

"I just wish I could have taken that guy's dog from him because I don't know if it got fed or he hurt it when it got home," she added. “If he's going to act like this in public, what does he do to them behind closed doors?"

What should you do if you see something like this happen? A spokesperson for Richmond Animal Care & Control says:

  • If safe to do so, take a video or picture of the suspected abuse
  • Get a name of the person suspected of doing the abusing
  • Even jot down a license plate

"Every dog owner has different discipline styles, just like people have different parenting styles,” Jacobsen said. “But there's a difference between tapping a dog on the side of the mouth if you think they're playing too aggressively and pinning them down and shoving a hose in their mouth. I think that's where all of us were like what just happened."

Jacobsen posted about the situation to social media, sparking a conversation where several other people say the man has made them uncomfortable while at the dog park.

“He accused me of calling him a racist and proceeded to call me several (derogatory terms),” said another woman. “It was completely unprovoked.”

That woman also took a picture of the man in case anything happened.

"I think I was so overwhelmed to have actually just witnessed someone being that cruel that my initial instinct wasn't let me pull out my phone," Jacobsen said.

RACC outreach coordinator Robin Young said there’s an open investigation at this point, but they need more information.

“We advise people at the park to let us know if you see him again,” Young said. “Take photos, videos, or even a license plate number, if safe to do, so we can investigate.”

Young added anyone who suspects a possible animal abuse situation is urged to contact RACC at 804-646-5573.

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