Victim: Adult, Pet
Location: On the street in our neighbourhood, British Columbia
Year of attack: 2014
Tell us about the attack
My daughter and I were walking our small dogs when a pit bull being walked by another woman broke its leash, rushed across the street and attacked our little male dog. The pit bull was muzzled but determined and tore off its muzzle. It was a direct prey attack. My hand was bitten. Our little dog rolled on his back in submission and the pit bull ripped his stomach out. We had no idea what had happened or why – we couldn’t comprehend it. Pit bulls were restricted in our city before 2005. It was like a wild animal had come out of nowhere. I ran to the vet with little dog’s insides in my hands but he did not survive. The vet and his staff experienced trauma for months.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
We had PTSD for years after the attack. It took a long time to walk again in our neighbourhood. Years later, I tried to start jogging again, but within a week I was frightened by two different pit bulls. I eventually joined a gated botanical park so I could walk and run again in safety. The fear never leaves us. Even sitting on our porch, we’ve had unleashed dogs come tearing up the front path. Now that we know what can happen, we don’t feel safe anywhere, even on our front porch. It’s taken 6 years out of our lives.
The pit bull was taken by animal control and euthanized. Animal Control laid five charges against the owners, but the city prosecutor dropped the case for lack of “evidence”. It was considered a “dog-on-dog” fight. The woman owner got another pit bull a week after the first one was euthanized, but Animal Control removed it since the case was ongoing. Before leaving town and disappearing, the owners wrote a letter to a newspaper claiming it was our fault and their pit bull was a “support dog”. Through reporters, we discovered the dog had actually been seized from a fight ring in the north and kept for some time in a shelter. Two “behaviour therapists” from the shelter claimed it was “rehabilitated”. The couple who adopted it knew its dangerous background.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
We would like people to know that while all dogs can be dangerous, dogs like pit bulls in particular see small dogs as prey. We’ve been scorned and berated by owners of large dogs for being afraid, but once you go through this, you can never not know it. Pit bulls should be banned and heavily restricted in all areas. Above all, I believe laws should be written with strong consequences for owners of dangerous dogs. “Breed neutral” laws are not working.