But first Virginia Beach Animal Control officers say they need the community to take action and help them track down the man and his dog and possibly help provide closure to 32-year-old Kristen Dowdy.
“He’s my buddy and I told him, Stoley you’re my best friend too,” Kristen described.
Four-year-old Stoley also meant a lot to Kristen’s mom, Kathy.
She was the one walking him along the beach near their home when it all happened.
Kathy says Stoley’s attacker was a mostly white Staffordshire terrier mix with large black spots.
Animal control officers say they believe the dog was female and wearing a black harness at the time.
“Cases like this are tragic and we hate hearing about them,” said Animal Control Spokesperson, Wayne Gilbert.
They’re cases, Gilbert says, Animal Control takes very seriously.
Believe it or not, the dog’s owner didn’t do anything wrong by letting his pet off-leash.
That’s because, Gilbert says, the city’s leash law doesn’t apply to public beaches this time of year.
However, whether on a leash or off, he says you must keep control over your pet at all times.
“Allowing the dog to jump on somebody or to jump on another dog or attack another dog like in this case are certainly circumstances where we would be looking to charge for failing to maintain control over the pet,” Gilbert explained.
In the meantime, the Dowdy family is trying to come to terms with what happened, especially Kristen who has Down syndrome.
“Her friends aren’t like mine. You can’t jump in the car and run off with them and go to the movies and do the things that normal young adults do and so there was a special bond between her and that little dog,” said Kathy.
Animal Control officers ask anyone with any information that could help them find Stoley’s attacker and its owner to call Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.