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Dog attack victim says bylaw's reaction lacks teeth

Dog attack victim says bylaw's reaction lacks teeth
Dog attack victim says bylaw's reaction lacks teeth

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الثلاثاء 23 أبريل 2024 05:08 مساءً

A 79-year-old Stittsville woman who says she was attacked by three dogs, leaving her legs severely bruised and in need of stitches, wants to see changes to how bylaw and police handle dangerous animals.

Moira Stephen and her little brown dog Duchess were out for a walk Saturday morning when the incident occurred. She had adopted the 13-kilogram potcake or mixed-breed dog just days earlier.

They had just exited a pathway onto Forest Creek Drive when Stephen saw an unleashed black dog. She said the canine, which she initially thought looked like a German shepherd, went straight for Duchess.

Suddenly, the situation went from bad to worse.

"I looked up the road, there were two other dogs," Stephen said. "So they were racing towards us and they just attacked us."

Her immediate concern was for Duchess, but then Stephen realized she'd been bitten herself.

"Fortunately, it was a garage sale right next door and people came running out," she said. "I think I was screaming. I don't know, I don't remember."

Moira Stephen says she initially didn't realize she'd been bitten. She said it was pointed out to her by someone while she was being shepherded into a vehicle to take her home.

Moira Stephen says she initially didn't realize she'd been bitten. She said it was pointed out to her by someone while she was being shepherded into a vehicle to take her home.

Stephen said she didn't initially realize she'd been bitten until someone pointed out the blood covering her leg. (Jean Delisle/Radio-Canada)

Debbie Trouten, who was hosting the garage sale, said it all happened right in front of her. She said the other dogs wandered onto her driveway but didn't seem aggressive at first. There was no owner in sight, she said.

Trouten said that all changed when the dogs spotted Stephen and Duchess.

"They just made a beeline for her and circled her and started immediately attacking her dog," Trouten said.

Trouten tried to shoo the dogs away, but said they simply circled back to continue attacking Duchess. She even tried kicking the animals, but said it didn't work.

Trouten was finally able to grab Duchess and help lift her up while the larger dogs continued to circle and jump. A man who was also at the scene was able to get Stephen and Duchess into his car and drove them home.

Stephen said it was only as she walked to the man's vehicle that someone pointed out that her leg was covered in blood. Paramedics soon arrived at her home and took her to hospital.

"There is no doubt in my mind that if that lady had taken her dog for a walk on the path behind her house and she was alone, that dog would be dead," Trouten said. "And she might have been attacked further."

Alleged 2nd attack

Leah Day said she saw the same dogs show similarly aggressive behaviour just before they attacked Stephen.

Day came across the dogs running loose on a nearby trail and was in the middle of calling bylaw when they went for another older woman who was walking a small white dog.

Leah Day says she snapped this photo of the dogs that caused so much chaos on Saturday.

Leah Day says she snapped this photo of the dogs that caused so much chaos on Saturday.

Leah Day snapped this photo of the dogs that caused so much chaos on Saturday. (Submitted by Leah Day)

Day said she saw one of the animals bite the other woman's dog while she held it in her arms.

"I'm screaming, the other lady's screaming, trying to get the dogs away," she said.

A cyclist stopped to help and Day called 911 while she made her way toward Trouten's garage sale. That's when she realized the three dogs had followed her.

"I have been around dogs my entire life. I am very confident with dogs," Day said. "And this was one of the scariest and most chaotic things that I have ever witnessed."

In an emailed statement, Roger Chapman, the city's director of bylaw and regulatory services, said the owner of the aggressive dogs faces a long list of charges including failing to keep the animals leashed and under control.

The owner also faces charges for keeping too many dogs "in or about a dwelling."

In all, the owner is facing more than $3,000 in fines and has been ordered to muzzle the three dogs involved in the incident.

But Stephen and her family, who now face a $1,200 vet bill for Duchess, said they want more to be done to protect others from similar encounters.

Moira Stephen said her dog, Duchie, had several wounds following Saturday's incident.

Moira Stephen said her dog, Duchie, had several wounds following Saturday's incident. "She's got four bites. And her back is very bruised," Stephen said.

Duchess required $1,200 in veterinary care after the attack. 'She's got four bites and her back is very bruised,' Stephen said. (ean Delisle/Radio-Canada)

Chapman said fines and muzzle orders are normal protocol in cases of confirmed dog bites. Following an investigation, bylaw services can commence court proceedings to obtain a destruction order.

Chapman said numerous factors inform that decision, including the severity of an attack and whether the animals in question are repeat offenders.

"Destruction orders are a rare outcome of dog bite/attacks and owners will often voluntarily have their dog euthanized in the case of extreme bite/attack incidents," the statement reads.

CBC attempted to contact the suspected owner of the dogs, but hasn't heard back.

Stitches and a dark red bite mark on Stephen's leg, along with dark bruises on both thighs, now serve as reminders of the attack. But Stephen warns it could have been worse.

"If they get out again, they could kill a kid, easily," Stephen said. "Easily."

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