A Saanich man placed himself between his dog and what he says was a charging pit bull that left his pet with serious injuries.
The incident happened at around 6:15 p.m. Saturday near Colquitz middle school, when the man, who did not want to give his name, and his wife were walking with Coco, described as “a geriatric, spayed female dog more than 15 years old.”
As they were walking on the Colquitz River Trail between Interurban Road and Dumeresq Street, the man and his wife noticed two men standing with their dogs.
One of the men was holding a large pit bull that was “heavily muscled and weighed about 130 pounds.” “Very quickly, the pit bull dog noticed my dog and began straining hard at its harness in an attempt to approach me and my dog,” the man said.
“The pit bull managed to pull free from its owner and charged at us. I was holding my dog on a short leash, and standing between the approaching pit bull and my dog in order to afford some protection to my dog.”
The attacking dog went around the legs of Coco’s owner and “clamped” its huge jaw around the shoulder and neck of Coco. Her owner soon found himself on the ground between the dogs, trying to separate them.
“During the few seconds that passed from the time the pit bull started to charge us until this point, the dog’s owner had approached the scene and managed to restrain his dog, but not until after his pit bull dog had caused a major and serious injury to Coco,” he said.
The man said the extent of the injury was not clear at the time. There was only a small amount of blood and emotions were running high, and there was “no time to have a closer look at the injuries caused,” he said.
He said the dog’s owner said, “Oh, it’s just a puppy. It’s just got high spirits. Is your day OK?”
It was only later that Coco’s owner realized the danger he had been in, “given the speed and viciousness with which this dog had managed to attack my poor old dog. It could’ve have attacked me.”
Coco underwent surgery at Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital for wounds stretching some 12 inches in length from the top of her head to beneath her left shoulder. The other dog’s owner paid the $1,300 bill for the surgery.
Sgt. Jereme Leslie of the Saanich Police said Animal Control Services have launched an investigation into the incident.
“The type of dog still needs to be verified and it’s not known if the dog has a history,” he said. “The owners of both dogs are fully co-operating with the Saanich Pound. It’s still very early in the investigation and the pound will investigate if there has been any breach of the Saanich bylaws and take appropriate action.”
One looming question concerns the fate of the attacking dog and its would-be status under Saanich’s animal control bylaw, which distinguishes between “aggressive” and “dangerous,” the more serious of the two categories.
For Coco’s owner, the experience demands action.
“It is my opinion that the action needs to be taken to protect public safety from this animal, especially given that [its] home is virtually right across the street from a school,” he said.