Another dog attack in White Rock has left one pet owner afraid to return.
A Keil Street resident told Peace Arch News last week that her Cairn terrier-bichon needed emergency surgery after it was mauled by a beige pit bull in her driveway April 19, just seconds after she had parked and started to unload the car.
“This random pit bull… came ripping through the fence and attacked my dog,” said Nichola, who asked that her surname not be published. “Just came and took my dog and just shook it.
“I thought I was going to lose my dog for sure.”
Nichola said neither she nor the other owner were able to break the pit bull’s hold on 15-pound Olive, however, she managed to yank her five-year-old pet free when the dog briefly loosened its grip.
In addition to Olive needing surgery, Nichola had to get shots and is on antibiotics due to a bite wound she received to her hand during the struggle.
Police and bylaw officials were called about the incident. White Rock’s director of planning and development services, Paul Stanton, said the offending dog’s owner – who was also bit – has been ordered to keep the dog muzzled in public and leashed when in its yard.
As well, the owner will receive notice in writing that the dog is considered dangerous, and any further incidents will result in pursuit of a court order to have it destroyed.
Stanton could not confirm the dog was a pit bull. The owner has been “very good and very co-operative,” he said, noting the incident was the first on record in the city with this particular dog. The city is checking with other municipalities to determine if the animal has a record elsewhere.
Nichola, however, said the steps are not enough to assure the dog would be controlled. She said that after spotting it off-leash in its yard the day after the attack, she opted to stay with Olive in Vancouver.
“I haven’t been able to go back. I’m just so scared,” she said a week later. “I don’t feel like I can bring my dog back there.”
Mayor Catherine Ferguson said she, too, believes more should be done when an animal is aggressive. Ferguson noted an administrative change taking effect this month will see bylaw officers appointed as peace officers. Peace officers have the authority to take possession of dangerous dogs without the city first having to petition the courts.
“We need to be in a position where we can remove animals and not wait for court orders,” she said.
Nichola said others in the neighbourhood worry for the safety of their small pets, as well as for that of young children. One resident has distributed flyers advising of what happened to Olive, she said.
Daniel Wong told PAN neighbourhood children are scared to play in their own yards. He called for the province to follow Ontario’s 2005 lead and ban the breed, and encouraged citizens to lobby politicians.
“Let them know in no uncertain terms that enough is enough,” Wong wrote in an email. “We’ve had it with vicious dogs holding neighbourhoods hostage.”
The incident is the second attack reported in White Rock in six months. A hearing is scheduled for July to determine the fate of a Staffordshire, after a pet was killed Nov. 22.