Gainesville police are investigating an attempted robbery reported Tuesday around Bivens Cove Apartments in which the victim’s Chihuahua bit the robber.
The victim was walking the dog about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday along a wood line at the Southwest 13th Street apartments when a man emerged from the woods, Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias said in a news release early Wednesday afternoon.
The man hit her in the head with a bottle and asked for money.
The University of Florida sent out a safety alert Wednesday about the incident because it happened near the UF-owned Tanglewood Village housing complex, which is disconnected from the main campus.
The woman told the man — whom she later described as a Hispanic male between 5’7 and 5’9 tall — that she did not have any money, Tobias said. The Chihuahua bit the man in the leg, causing him to run back into the woods.
“I know [dog owners] always wonder, ‘What’s going to happen? Is my dog going to protect me in this situation?'” Tobias later told WUFT News by phone.
“So I really hope that that young lady gave her dog a good treat for that because you never know if your dog is going to protect you until they’re put in that situation.”
Police checked the woods but did not find the man.
The bottle did not break over the woman’s head but did cause bruising, Tobias said. The woman told police that the man smelled of alcohol and appeared to be homeless.
Tobias said people sometimes can’t avoid crime but that the best things to do are be aware of their surroundings and be prepared.
Potential victims should “have a plan in their head should something bad happen and always have a way to call for help or to yell and scream for help,” he said by phone.
Police are asking for those with information about Tuesday’s incident to call 352-955-1818.
This story has been updated to include Tobias’ quotes and the fact that the dog was a Chihuahua. Contributing reporting by Mercedes Leguizamon.