Dog owners report bloody injuries on new Richmond bridge

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One of Richmond’s newest landmarks could be a hazard to your dog’s safety.

Multiple reports have been circulating on social media of dogs being injured on the T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge, getting their toenails caught between metal strips at the center of the crossing. Pet owners are spreading the word that the incidents are ending in bloody and painful split nails.

c0719e9efeae44b69a0b8dcd03a00e9eImagine your fingernail getting ripped off, except a dog’s, so a little deeper in,” explained Greg Velzy, who has two dogs and is a member of the Falls of the James State Scenic River Advisory Committee. “A dog doesn’t know to stop pulling. They just keep yanking and yanking to stop the pain and it just makes it worse.”

“Imagine your fingernail getting ripped off, except a dog’s, so a little deeper in.”

Since the Potterfield Bridge opened in late November, there have been countless reports of dogs getting hurt while crossing the quarter-inch spaces between the grates, leaving some pets bloodied and whimpering.

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“With one of my dogs I saw the potential right away,” Velzy told 8News. “He has longer claws and I saw, ‘hey, he may get trapped in the grates and get caught.’”

In early December, an English Labrador got snagged, splitting his toenail all the way down to the quick. The dog’s owner said their trip to the bridge ended in a $200 vet bill, plus ten days on antibiotics.

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In a post published on a Facebook profile for the dog, his owner wrote:

RVA doggy friends: Beware of the T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge!!! It’s made of narrow metal strips w/ about a 1/4 inch opening between each strip, which is just right for catching a doggy toenail and tearing it, resulting in a bloody and painful split nail and a doggy who is now terrified to walk on the bridge. This becomes particularly problematic when you’ve walked across the bridge and have to walk back to get to the car.

As for a solution to the problem, Velzy said he believes resurfacing the bridge is likely out of the question.

“It’s probably going to be a matter of signage,” he said, “At each end of the bridge, alerting owners that it could be an issue. They’d take that risk on their own.”

8News has reached out to the city’s planning department to learn whether they would consider making changes to the bridge. So far, we have not heard back.

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