Monday, August 5, 2013


The man who had allegedly been encouraging and assisting his off-leash dog in attacking and seriously harming other dogs in Prospect Park for several months was arrested in the park at 9:14 this morning. Nine or ten police officers in three cars from the 78th Precinct had been looking for him in the park since 6:00 a.m., based on a call to 911 reporting that he'd been seen at the north end of the park.

Donnell Barden, 42, of Foster Avenue near New York Avenue, was apprehended and arrested near West Drive and 15th Street. He was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon. The charges stem from his dog allegedly attacking a dog on May 17th. Barden allegedly stabbed the dog with a knife nine times and threatened its owner with the knife when he tried to stop the attack. Barden had a small knife with him at the time of his arrest.

A spokesperson for Animal Care and Control stated that the police brought Barden's dog to them. There's no further word at the moment about what will happen to the dog.

In February, Barden's dog allegedly attacked a woman's thirty-eight-pound mutt, Gray. Next was the May 17th attack. Police are also looking into an August attack to see if Barden and his dog were involved. A woman says that Barden and his dog attacked her three-year-old Doberman Pinscher, Brandon, in Prospect Park last Friday, August 2nd.

Dog owner Eric Barstad, along with some friends, played a key role in the arrest. He had witnessed the May 17th attack on his friend's dog,  After hearing about last Friday's attack, he and his friends made fliers that same day and posted them in the park to warn other dog owners.

He contacted Prospect Heights Patch to publicize the attacks and gave them a copy of the flier to post.Word spread quickly among local residents via KWTneighbors, the local listserv, Facebook, and Twitter. Two days later, the police arrested Barden.

Anyone who Barden and/or his dog have attacked or who has witnessed an attack should alert police immediately. Contact the 78th Precinct and file a formal complaint. Call Sergeant White at (718) 636-6451 or (718) 636-6441. Justice will be served best when more victims and witnesses step forward.

The Daily News reports that "In 1992, he pleaded guilty to attempted murder charges after he fired a gun in the direction of a NYPD cop, prison records show. The officer was hunting Barden after he tied up his old boss, put tape over his mouth and stole his credit cards.

Barden served seven years behind bars and was released in May 2010."

Barden's dog is a pit bull. If someone else had been its owner, had treated it lovingly, and had trained it to behave appropriately--in other words, someone not like Barden--this would have been a completely different story. Or no story at all.