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Dog that attacked puppy on beach found

Woofi recovering after losing leg in attack

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Police say help from citizens and neighbors allowed officers to track down the owner of a dog that attacked a leashed puppy on Jacksonville Beach on Sunday.

According to Jacksonville Beach police, the owner, Stephen Heindel, does not face any criminal charges, but has surrendered the dog.

The animal will be held until a hearing can be held to determine if the dog should be declared a dangerous dog under Jacksonville Beach's ordinance.

"If the dog is declared dangerous, any future attacks could lead to monetary damages, as well as possibly repercussions against the dog itself," said Sgt. Tom Bingham, of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

Police said Heindel (pictured right from previous arrest booking photo) is cooperating with investigators.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Stephen Heindel from previous arrest
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Stephen Heindel from previous arrest

Witnesses said the dog was not on a leash when it attacked a smaller dog.  Pets are allowed on Jacksonville Beach after 5 p.m., but only if they are on a leash.

The dog that was attacked, Woofi, lost a leg in the attack and is home recovering with his family.

Seven-year-old Delani was holding the leash for Woofi, when the attack happened.

"I had some nightmares," she said.

"I did run to Delani. She was screaming," said Sheila Folsom, Woofi's owner. "I thought, 'Oh my God, my child doesn't need to be looking at that."

On Tuesday, stitches and a draining tube lined the side of dog's small body, but the dog was getting around on his own.

"He's a special puppy," Folsom said. "He's brought a lot of joy into our home. We feel very blessed that he's alive."

The Folsoms said they're angry the dog's owner won't face criminal charges, not even for fleeing the beach.

"I feel like he was a coward because I saw him," Folsom said. "He picked up the big dog he had, he was trucking along, running as fast as he could."

"It's very frustrating, it saddens me because it's a lesser charge because he's not human," Folsom added. "But look at the damage. And they say no humans were injured, but we three were injured."

Woofi's family says the community has been so generous that they are planning to give the extra money donated to help Woofi to other families who may have suffered a tragedy with their dog.