A 10-year-old girl, whose parents asked that she not be identified, will spend the rest of her summer recovering from severe injuries she received when she was mauled by a pitbull Saturday. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

UPDATE: Pitbulls put down after attacking children on Vancouver Island

Ten-year-old girl and woman seriously injured in incident in Nanaimo on Saturday

While most parents were sharing family time on Mother’s Day, Dave and Jaime Skarbo were nursing their 10-year-old daughter who was seriously injured when she and two other children were attacked by two pitbulls.

The attack happened Saturday, shortly after 10 a.m., when their daughter, who they’ve asked not be identified, was waiting on the front lawn of her friends’ home, located on Ranchview Drive, in Nanaimo’s Cinnabar Valley neighbourhood, for her mother to pick her up for her gymnastics class.

Out of the blue, two pitbulls ran across the street and attacked the three children.

“We were just sitting on our lawn by the tree and the two dogs just came running down and jumped on us and attacked us,” said Natasha Torney, 11. “I ran up to the door and my brother ran up to the door with me and my friend ran towards the road. She got pulled down and attacked.”

Natasha was grabbed on the arm by one of the dogs, but her brother Jayden, 8, managed to strike the animal with his hockey stick, buying them enough time to escape into the front door of their home, but their friend was pulled down as one of the dogs ripped into her arm.

Cathy Torney, mother of Natasha and Jayden, said she woke to the terrified screams of her daughter.

“They pulled her down by her hair. The other dog got her arm and, luckily, a neighbour of ours came down with the bat and got the dogs off of her,” Torney said.

Nanaimo RCMP confirmed in a press release Tuesday that they attended the home of the dog owners with Animal Control Services and seized the animals.

“Animal control seized the dogs and they were humanely euthanized,” noted Nanaimo RCMP in the release. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Torney, a nurse, said the girl’s injuries were severe that the flesh was like jelly inside the cloth of her hoodie. Some of the flesh was completely missing.

“It was bad, really bad,” Torney said.

Dave Skarbo said his daughter sustained deep lacerations to the upper and lower part of her arm.

“The underside [of her arm] where the dog clamped on and just started thrashing, you could watch the muscle move inside her arm,” Skarbo said. “It’s big. It took two doctors and hour and a half to stitch her up while she was put under because they couldn’t just do local freezing. There was just too much damage.”

Skarbo, who was going grocery shopping, received a phone call about the incident and arrived on the scene ahead of paramedics.

“I raced back and got inside was just appalled by what I saw,” he said.

In total the girl was treated for more than nine hours in hospital and was violently ill for most of the following day as she recovered from the anesthetics and other drugs used in the treatment.

Another woman, who lives nearby, but declined to talk with media, also tried to help the girl and was also attacked by the dogs and taken to hospital with injuries to her right arm. Torney said the woman received multiple stitches to her arm.

Skarbo said he’s grateful people were there to help, that his daughter suffered no nerve or tendon damage and that the dogs did not attack her neck and head. The muscle damage will take a long time to heal and Skarbo said the doctors did what they could to stitch the girl’s injuries to minimize scarring.

While the attack was happening, the dogs’ owners arrived on the scene, put the dogs in a vehicle and allegedly left without checking on the condition of the victims.

“I don’t see the difference between that and having a hit-and-run with a car and leaving the scene of an accident,” Skarbo said. “People are hurt. There’s kids screaming on the road, is what the people have told me, and they just left and, luckily the people had the wherewithal to get a licence plate number and remember that licence plate number and whatever, in everything that was going on, and were able to catch the people.”

“I’m angry that the police and animal control were aware of this owner and aware of the dogs,” Torney said. “There’s been many complaints. There’s been other incidents and still their hands were tied until something like this happens.”

Skarbo said there should be no second chance for owners of vicious dogs and that pitbulls should be banned in the neighbourhood.

“Absolutely. Communities like this, there’s so many kids…” he said. “As a responsible dog owner, if you’re going to have these kinds of dogs and you have an incident, there should be no second chance.”

Pitbulls are a restricted breed in Nanaimo and there is breed-specific legislation that requires they be muzzled, confined indoors or kept in an enclosure unless they have received kennel club certification.

Carley Colclough, animal services pound coordinator, said ticketing is the only enforcement action that would relate to a restricted breed being at large or unmuzzled. She said the community charter does allow the pound to seize a dog in the interest of public safety, but that process would need to go through the court system.

As far as changing bylaws around animal control, Colclough said that would be up to mayor and council.

“We absolutely make our recommendations known to the city, but we’re just tasked with enforcing the bylaws, not with creating them or anything like that,” she said.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

-with files from Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin



photos@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Phelps’s life has changed since he was able to get a safe pharmaceutical alternative to fentanyl after his pain medication was cut off a couple of years ago. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Unhoused community in Greater Victoria struggles to access safe supply

Safer Victoria Project working to connect people sheltering outside with pharmaceutical alternatives

John Roney has been working on Beneath the Emerald Sea for about a year now and expects it to be released in fall of 2021. (Provided by John Roney)
Victoria man films underwater documentary about sea life around Vancouver Island

John Roney expects Under the Emerald Sea to be released in 2021

Cole Byers and Jasmine Grant are taking a leap of faith and opening The Rack Westcoast Bistro in Langford, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Langford residents making “all-in move” opening restaurant amid COVID-19 pandemic

Although The Rack Westcoast Bistro isn’t officially open yet, it’s serving anyone who wanders in

The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
 The Langford Fire Rescue team was busy Saturday afternoon handing out heaps of candy during its first ever Halloween drive-thru. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Langford Fire Rescue’s Halloween drive-thru delights children

Full-sized chocolate bars may make Langford Fire Rescue the favourite house on the block

Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
PHOTOS: Saanich retirement home welcomes students for pandemic-friendly Great Pumpkin walk

Annual Berwick House Halloween event brings joy to seniors, youngsters

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are looking for information about William Mack, last seen in Duncan on Oct. 28. (File photo)
Police searching for missing man last seen near Duncan

William Mack, 72, was seen on Gibbins Road on Oct. 28

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Most Read