A new tree commemorating the life of Moose the dog, who was killed in Prospect Park last year, will be planted in a memorial ceremony in the park on May 5th at 11am, close to the Third Street playground.
Brooklyn neighbors and dog lovers donated $5,387 on GoFundMe to pay for the tree, surpassing the fundraiser’s goal of $4,500. Jessica Chrustic, Moose’s owner, chose a Bald Cypress that could live up to 600 years to honor her beloved pooch. The tree will join dozens of other memorial trees dotted throughout the park, and all are welcome to join the ceremony.
“Before this horrific event, Prospect Park was Moose’s favorite place to take his walks and play,” wrote Lauren Dauro, a friend of Chrustic’s, on the GoFundMe page. “Because of this and the desire to honor Moose meaningfully, we wish to have a commemorative tree planted in Prospect Park as a memorial to this beautiful, loving dog. Moose was only two years old when his life was struck down senselessly and violently.”
Last summer, a man attacked Chrustic and Moose as they walked through the idyllic park, and hit Moose so hard with a stick that the pup later died from his injuries. Chrustic said she has managed to bring herself to go back to park on a regular basis, but still struggles with anxiety, grief and a feeling of insecurity when walking around her neighborhood.
“I live right on the park, but it is extremely difficult,” she said. “The whole point of living in a micro apartment is to have that payoff of the park being right there, but right now, it’s been difficult to navigate.”
The attacker was a homeless man who Chrustic and other locals had previously spotted in the park — Chrustic told Patch she was attacked by the same man just a few months after he killed Moose. Still, eight months later, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is still ongoing. Police said “when a positive identification can be made, an arrest will be made.”
“I’m disheartened by the response of the 78th Precinct and the lack of effort to not only find him but apprehend him,” said Chrustic. “This gentleman is pretty easy to spot. He’s been a known person in the park by both Prospect Park Alliance and park-goers. I just hope that people continue to stay vigilant and alert and contact the precinct if they think they see the man.”
Chrustic said she has been “overwhelmed” by the support and generosity she has received from her neighbors, and has no intention to move — she considers her neighborhood to be her home. She continues to foster dogs, and the surplus funds from the fundraiser will go to cover her expenses.
“It would be nice to find a place where I can find comfort in that area again and have better memories,” she said.