NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Police say a man was defending himself when he approached a dog at a park and cut it with a knife.

Authorities tell us the investigation started after they received a report about the incident that took place Monday on the bikeway at Newport News Park.

Traci and Ed Spruill and their 3-year-old dog Hunter walk Newport News Park quite often. The Spruill’s say for 30 years they’ve walked all their dogs in the park.

“We've come here 30 years,” Spruill says. “But Monday was different.”

We're told that a leashed dog was being walked by its owners on the bikeway when a man approached them, pulled a knife and stuck the dog on the nose.

The dog received a minor cut, but did not need veterinary treatment.

“I didn't realize he was cut till I went home and saw the blood,” Spruill says.

The suspect left the scene, but the dog's owners reported the incident to park staff.

The Spruill's say park employees told them they know the man who cut their dog, and that he's had previous incidents at the park before.

On Wednesday night, an animal control officer and a park ranger were able to interview the suspect.

Officials believe the man was acting in self-defense, so he will not face animal cruelty charges.

Following the incident, the Animal Services Division says they would like to remind dog owners and people sharing the areas with dogs to talk to each other before allowing dogs to approach.