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Venice Cafe Owner Gets Fingertip Bitten Off In Fight With Transient

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A Venice cafe owner is recovering after a fight where part of his finger was bitten off.

Clabe Hartley, the owner of the Cow's End Cafe on Washington Boulevard near the Venice Pier, got into a fight with a homeless man who was harassing customers at his restaurant. The man allegedly took somebody's drink and was aggressively demanding money, and Hartley told him that he wouldn't be served. That's when Hartley says the fight broke out. "He hit me in the face several times before we went down to the ground," he told CBS 2.

"To bite somebody is animalistic. Humans don't do that," he said.

Hartley said he was grateful for the strangers who came to his aid and pulled the man off of him. He didn't realize at first that a part of his finger had been bitten off. "Three men came over and tried to hold him down. Two guys went on his legs. One was on his other arm. A customer said, 'He bit you.' And he spit it out," he said.

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The injury required forty stitches and a skin graft, but doctors were unable to reattach the tip. "He left some of the bone," said Hartley. He also has cuts and abrasions on his face from the fight.

Hartley says a more recent wave of younger transients are making their way into Venice who are more aggressive, although CBS 2 reports police and locals haven't noticed a change. Residents and business owners have long been asking the LAPD to crack down in the area. Despite yesterday's altercation, Hartley said, "I would not live anywhere else on his planet."

The name of the man who attacked Hartley has not been released, but he has been booked for mayhem.