(Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS) Meko, a nine-year-old pit bull-boxer cross, was attacked by an off-leash German shepherd along a trail by Hill Avenue and 242 Street in Maple Ridge.

Off-leash dogs attack B.C. senior, pit bull

SPCA can do little without information of dog owners

A senior and a dog have been attacked separately by off-leash dogs, both German shepherds, on trails in Maple Ridge.

Meko, a nine-year-old pit bull-boxer cross, was walking on-leash with his owner, Dave Smith, along a trail at the bottom of Jackson Farm on Tuesday at around 5 p.m., when one attack occurred.

“We came across a German shepherd that didn’t like my dog. He lunged at him and then my dog tried to lunge back, and at that point her dog just gripped onto his face and wouldn’t let go,” Smith said.

He started yelling at the woman to get her dog off. She tried to pry her dog’s jaws open, but couldn’t.

“So then I threatened to hit her dog. Then she started yelling and screaming at me, to charge me if I hit her dog,” said Smith.

The woman tried getting her dog off Meko again, but without success.

Smith then stepped in and got the dogs apart by pulling at the German shepherd’s mouth. As he was trying to comfort Meko, the other dog tried lunging at him again.

“She didn’t have a leash. She didn’t have a collar. She didn’t have anything,” Smith said of the other dog owner. “She was just yelling at him and I am swinging my arms at him and so he would run back to her.”

Smith didn’t get her name or much of a description of her. He described the German shepherd as black with tan spots on its chest.

Smith’s landlady rushed him and Meko to Haney Animal Hospital. Meko had puncture wounds over one eye close to his ear, another above his other eye, and a smaller one on his mouth. His eye was also swollen. Meko also received two shots to prevent infection.

The areas around the wounds have been shaved so Smith can apply an antibiotic cream. He also has to give him antibiotics by mouth and push on the wounds to drain the fluids.

Smith’s vet bill was around $200. However, it’s still possible that Meko might have to undergo surgery, which would cost another $1,000, if he doesn’t heal properly.

A similar incident happened about a month ago to Samuel Sookun, 74, as he walked along the dike at Jerry Sulina Park. He was heading back to his car in the parking lot, just south of the off-leash area, when a black German shepherd, unleashed, came up on the trail.

“This guy didn’t look right, so I stopped,” said Sookun.

“The look he was giving me just stunned me,” he added.

The dog circled Sookun, then bit him on his side.

“It happened so fast. I was just stunned. I couldn’t believe what just happened.”

Sookun yelled at the owner, a tall woman about 30 years old, with dark hair.

Sookun told her the dog should be on leash, but said she yelled back at him and continued on with a second smaller dog to the off-leash park at the dike.

“I don’t know what she said to me. I couldn’t tell you, I was so upset,” said Sookun.

He went to go see a doctor, with a puncture wound to his stomach and bruising. The doctor gave him a tetanus shot and antibiotics.

“I’ve been walking there for 20 years and never had anything happen. Most people don’t put a dog on a leash anyway,” said Sookun.

He would like to see bigger signs along the dike, warning owners to keep their dogs on-leash.

His daughter, Lisa Thomas, put a warning on Facebook and was she was contacted by another man who claimed a dog of similar description attacked him at Maple Ridge Park.

The SPCA took pictures of Sookun’s wound, but can do little without the identity of the other dog owners.

Lorie Chortyk, with the SPCA, aggressive dogs should be reported to the branch in Maple Ridge.

“Sometimes it’s just there is not enough information to track down a dog, because definitely if there is information to work with, we would definitely be following up,” she said.

Municipalities have bylaws surrounding dangerous dogs, but more information is again required.

”It is the responsibility of every dog guardian to be in control of their dog,” said Chortyk.

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