On June 15, Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, successor to Antonio Viillaraigosa, warmly welcomed hundreds of Angelenos and their family dogs at the ceremonial grand re-opening of Echo Park lake in the heart of historic Los Angeles. First dug in the 1860’s as a drinking-water reservoir, Echo Park Lake just underwent a two year habitat restoration that cost $45 million. The pink and white petals of floating Lotus plants, decorated the water in full bloom, broken concrete walks were replaced and the beautiful fountains were restored.
The nostalgic boat house and Lady of the Lake statue reminded visitors of the days when Echo Park was a center of activity for local families over 100 years ago. The new Mayor, who previously represented this Council district, urged local residents to once again consider Echo Park as a serene respite for themselves and their canine companions in the center of the surrounding metropolis.
But on June 16--one day later--tragedy had already struck local resident Jennifer Lane and her pet Pomeranian, Zara, in the enchanting, fairy-tale setting of Echo Park. An off-leash Pit Bull attacked the tiny 15-pound dog and turned their first walk in the park into a "bloody and costly mess." According to the report by the EastsiderLA.com, “…a loose pit bull pounced on Zara in the park, leaving the 15-pound dog with a broken lower jaw and multiple bite wounds and Lane with a veterinarian bill that has so far reached an estimated $3,000.”
Jennifer Lane, who lives in nearby Silverlake and works for the Department of Homeland Security, states that Zara is a beautiful and amazingly loving dog who has overcome many obstacles in her short life, including being found wandering alone in the desert. She was then adopted from a shelter.
Jennifer writes on Facebook that “Zara was mauled in Echo Park Lake on Sunday, June 16, 2013 by an off-leash pitbull. Due to this owner's negligence and irresponsibility, Zara has sustained a broken lower jaw, countless bite marks on her hind quarters, emotional stress, and trauma.” She states that Zara is recovering but still has many more veterinary procedures ahead of her.
Jennifer Lane told the Eastsider.com, “I don’t want anyone else to experience this horrific event.”
There are other local residents who are not quite as forgiving or willing to risk waiting for owners to take responsibility and said they will just avoid the park, despite the $45 million beautification effort.
Echo Park Lake should be a place for people to enjoy taking their children and pets,”said a local resident, named Barbara, “but there are already so many Pit Bulls in Echo Park within just a few weeks that I am afraid for my grandchildren and would never take my dog there.” Sadly, news of the tragic mauling of Zara has reinforced those fears.