Prospect Park has not been a very good place to take your dog lately, at least if you’d rather bring it home un-stabbed. That may have changed yesterday with the arrest of 42-year-old Flatbush resident Donnell Barden, the man accused of terrorizing other dog owners, using his pit bull to attack their pets before joining in himself. He reportedly used a metal cane to beat a number of dogs, and even stabbed one with what witnesses described as ice pick. In one instance, the Daily News reports, he could be heard shouting, “Eat it! Eat it!” as his dog attacked. Just in case you needed fodder for your nightmares.
The arrest comes after weeks (at least) of attacks, and what appears to have been a pretty minimal police response; one commenter on Brooklynian reported having a run-in with the man years ago, saying that when he encountered the man-dog duo, the guy started waving his cane and shouting, “We’re going to fuck you up!” Another commenter who’d had a run-in with him more recently called him “mentally off and very angry and aggressive at all times.”
Finally, a group calling themselves Prospect Park Dog Friends printed up flyers to warn other dog owners, calling the pair “a danger to all in the park.” The flyers warned that the man would often inquire whether someone’s dog was male or female before “actively encourag[ing]” his dog to attack, then joining in himself.
Barden was arrested late yesterday near the southwestern corner of the park. As the Daily News reports, it’s far from his first rodeo: He served seven years in prison for attempted murder after shooting a gun “in the direction of” a police officer. The cop had been trying to have word with Barden after the man’s former boss reported that he’d tied him up, put tape over his mouth and stolen his credit cards.
Barden was released in May 2010. This time, he’s facing charges of aggravated animal cruelty, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon. He’s probably also learned that once the locals start printing up flyers point you out as a weapon-carrying, dog-beating maniac, it’s time to find another park.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 6, 2013