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'Very frustrated': Woman attacked at dog park by homeless person

Kristin Bailey says her neighbourhood dog park has become dangerous.

While at the Henry Street Dog Park in Woodstock, Ont. Monday night, she said she was attacked by a man who lives in a nearby homeless encampment.

“I am very, very frustrated. This stuff shouldn't be happening,” said Bailey.

Bailey said it was around 8:30 p.m. when they saw a man come through the back gate of the park where there are no lights.

That's when one of her dogs went into protection mode, barking and nipping at the man's ankles. She said an argument ensued between the man and herself, and that’s when he attacked her.

"He lunged at me, I put my hand up like this and he decided to throw probably 30 punches to my face and my head, and when I went down, proceeded to kick me while I was down,” she explained.

Her friend Andrea Jones was with her and witnessed the entire incident.

"Oh, I was terrified, I was freaking out," said Jones.

Kristin Bailey and Andrea Jones, along with their dogs, at the Henry Street Dog Park in Woodstock, Ont. on Sept. 28, 2023. (Reta Ismail/CTV News London)

Kristin was transported to hospital, and said she suffered a concussion and bruising on her face and ribcage.

The women said there are several homeless encampments around the dog park, and people will often come through the back to get water from the fountain.

They are asking the city to put additional lighting at the back of the park, and shut down the encampments.

But Woodstock Mayor Jerry Acchione said, “They have the right to be there in the eyes of the law, and we don't have capacity at the Operation Sharing or In Out of the Cold, so therefore we have no rights to ask them to leave.”

Acchione said the city put together a task force in April to address homeless encampments.

"We’ve got 25 more beds coming online, the goal is to have them up and ready by the end of October, so that would make it a total of 50 beds at the In Out of the Cold, run by Operation Sharing here in the city of Woodstock," explained Acchione.

Kristin said the city told her they are looking at getting additional lighting added in the dog park - but they are having issues running hydro to the back corner.

"It's scary because them coming in that back gate puts our dogs at risk, as well as puts them at risk of being harmed. If they bite one of those people, it's our dogs that are in trouble at that point," said Jones.

  

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