Spring Hill family heartbroken after dog dies from attack at Johnson County dog park

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- A Spring Hill family is mourning the loss of their dog after police said it was attacked at a Johnson County dog park.

The Wiles family miss their 6-year-old cavamalt named Ranger, who took up a big space in their hearts. Every day, he went to the Heritage Dog Park Off-Leash Area in Olathe with the family's goldendoodle.

They never imagined his trip to the dog park Thursday, Sept. 5 would be his last.

"Had a great smile," Ranger's owner, Mitch Wiles, sad. "Like all dogs, they become part of your family."

On Thursday evening, Wiles said Ranger was playing at the dog park when disaster struck.

"One of them went after my dog and attacked it," he said.

Wiles said a person with two dogs, which he and a witness believe were pit bulls, came into the park. One of the dogs was off leash. He said it went for Ranger and wouldn't let go.

"Get him off," Wiles said. "You just do whatever you can to try and get 'em off."

In the process, Wiles said he got nipped himself, but his injuries were the last thing he was worried about. He raced Ranger to the vet.

Ultimately, Ranger had to be put down.

Wiles said the owner of the other dog tried to give him some information at the time, but Wiles was too concerned about Ranger to focus on it.

Capt. Rob Weber with the Johnson County Park Police said dogs who are taken to parks like this should be well socialized.

"When people bring their dogs to the dog off-leash park, what we look for and hope for is that we have responsible ownership, that you're not bringing in an aggressive dog out there," Weber said. "But you never really know what your dog is going to do until they're put in that situation."

Wiles said one solution may be to separate dogs by size at the park.

"I would just hope that owners, pet owners, if you're going to take your dog to a public off the leash dog park, that you have some security knowing that your dog is not going to attack another dog," Wiles said.

The Johnson County Park Police say they would like the owner of the dog that attacked to contact them. They want to make sure the dog has its proper shots and said they wouldn't be facing any criminal charges.

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