Neighbors concerned after woman attacked while walking her dog

Posted at 9:08 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 06:42:11-04

Neighbors are concerned after a young woman was attacked while walking her dog in Double Rock Park.

Monday around 7:30 p.m. police say a 26-year-old was walking near the park when a man came out from behind bamboo and started petting her dog. He then took the dog hostage and demanded money from the woman.

The woman said she didn't have any cash and offered her cell phone instead, asking for her dog back. The man then knocked her on the head with something very hard and she fell unconscious.

The man did not take anything with him and she was transported to the hospital.

Neighbors say this happened along a short path at the park, that is encircled with tall bamboo. Neighbors who spoke with ABC2 News say they're very concerned for their safety after the attack.

Father of two, John Emmel, said his wife would walk alone through the park for exercise while she was pregnant. Now they have a four and two-year-old and he says she's very concerned.  They decided to only walk through the neighborhood together, for safety.

Neighbor Sara Mclean says she's lived in this area for most of her life and is shocked there wasn't someone around when the attack happened.

"It just makes me sad because this park is a family park and people walk through here routinely all the time," Mclean said.

She said the community garden, just steps away from the bamboo path, always has people working. Mclean decided she will not walk her dogs alone, but doesn't want to change her routine because she believes that gives criminals power.

Gene Skeens was walking his dog at the park Wednesday and says he is now taking time out of his day to take out the family pet, so his wife doesn't have to at night.

He hopes neighbors are alert while walking around the area and take precautions to stay safe.

Police are urging anyone to call if they have any information on the attack. They also say neighbors can take safety into their own hands by calling anytime they see anything suspicious or out of place.

The young woman has been released from the hospital and neighbors set up a fundraising page for her. So far more than $4,000 has been raised to cover her medical expenses.

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindle and Android.