A California couple is pressing charges against a woman who they said attacked them with pepper spray at a dog park during an argument about masks. Ash O’Brien said she and her husband were eating lunch while watching their puppy at the Dusty Rhodes Dog Park in San Diego on July 23 when the woman approached them. A witness recorded part of the exchange and the clip is spreading on social media.
O’Brien explained to ABC affiliate KGTV that the woman reprimanded them for not wearing masks and scolded them for eating inside the dog park. O’Brien said after briefly walking away, the woman returned minutes later and sprayed them. The couple contacted the San Diego Police Department and filed a report.
Heavy has reached out to the San Diego PD to request a copy of the report. The masked woman in the video has not been publicly identified.
Here’s what you need to know:
O’Brien Says the Woman Sprayed an Entire Can of Mace at Her Husband
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O’Brien explained in a Facebook post that she and her husband sat down at a picnic table to eat lunch at the Dusty Rhodes Dog Park. They had their puppy, a three-month-old pug, with them. O’Brien said they were at the table by themselves and were social distancing. She wrote on Facebook, “We were not wearing masks because we were eating. You can’t wear a mask and eat at the same time.”
O’Brien explained that a “random old lady” approached them at the table to tell them they weren’t allowed to eat in the dog park and that they should be wearing face coverings. “She kept calling us idiots and flipping me off. Then she started saying more stuff and I told her to leave the park and stop harassing us.” O’Brien added that she and her husband had been unaware that food was not allowed in the dog park.
The woman did briefly leave the couple alone but returned a few minutes later. O’Brien claimed the woman pointed a can of mace in her face, prompting O’Brien’s husband to move between the two women. O’Brien told KGTV, “My husband, being a good guy, walked in front of her and was like ‘hey calm down please don’t do this’ and then she grabbed him and just starting macing him, she used the entire can on him.”
A witness recorded a portion of the confrontation. In the video that has been shared online, the woman can be seen spraying something at O’Brien’s husband. He has his arms raised and it appears he tried to grab the pepper spray out of the woman’s hand. O’Brien was heard crying off-camera.
The person who was recording the video speaks up and asks, “What are you doing? You cannot be serious. You just maced him and their food because you disagree.” Another man was also heard off-camera remarking, “That is not ok. You can’t treat people like that.” The witness also says, “What’s wrong with you, lady? You weren’t defending yourself, lady.” O’Brien later wrote on Facebook:
Thank god for the bystander that took this video because we are going to the police now to press charges. I am sharing this because people need to watch out for this lady in San Diego. Please share to spread awareness. That is me crying hysterically in the background because my innocent husband just got maced for no reason. We want justice.
The Couple Was Treated at a Local Hospital & O’Brien Says She Hopes the Woman Is Arrested
O’Brien said some of the pepper spray got on her arm and that it burned, but that her husband took the brunt of the attack to the face. The couple went to Balboa Hospital for treatment, according to SanDiegoVille. Their next move was to file a report with the San Diego Police.
O’Brien later wrote on Facebook that she hopes the woman is identified and arrested:
So I would like to address something right now. A lot of people are saying he should’ve gotten physical with the KAREN but if we did the entire case would’ve gone in her favor. My husband is a very mature man and I wouldn’t have wanted him to handle the situation any other way. All we want from this, is for her to get arrested so she can’t put any people or animals at risk. We are not looking for money or anything like that. We just want this woman in jail. And if anyone knows the name of this lady please comment it below. I want to know.
O’Brien also told SanDiegoVille that she’s grateful her puppy was not hit with any pepper spray. “Pugs already have bad respiratory issues so he would’ve been killed.”
In California, Face Masks Are Only Required Outdoors If Social Distancing Is Not Possible
Face coverings have been required in California since mid-June to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Adults and children over the age of two must wear masks when outside of the home, but the rules are more relaxed when spending time outside.
According to the order from the California Department of Health, community members do not have to wear masks outdoors unless they are in a situation where social distancing is not possible. The order states that masks must be worn:
While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
The list of exemptions include:
Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.