By Lexi Bainas, from Citizen
North Cowichan resident Sheila Wray and her puppy, Zorro, had a lucky escape this week but she says she doesn't want to see anyone else hurt like they were.
Her dog, a three month-old shepherd/husky cross, was severely mauled by a pit bull in Chemainus late Tuesday afternoon, June 25 and Wray herself was also injured as she and others tried to free her puppy from the clenched jaws.
She had purchased the puppy after her partner died earlier this year, hoping that the sweet little dog would provide much-needed companionship. So, having this happen now is just adding to a difficult 2013, Wray said.
She has been taking Zorro out, socializing him.
"He's getting along really good with the other dogs, loving to play with them. This was the first time I've taken him to Che-mainus beach [Kin Park]. There's a little park there, I used to take my granddaughter there.
"There were probably three other dog owners walking their dogs.
They were all having a good time. Then, all of a sudden, as I turned to talk to somebody, I looked back and there was another dog in the mix and it was a brindle pit bull.
"It came in from I don't know where, kind of rushing in the way pit bulls do. Because I'm familiar with the stories of pit bulls, my mind was immediately thinking: watch out for this, this is danger. And at the same time I was thinking: is that just a stereotype? But no sooner had I thought that than he had my dog down and was ripping and tearing at it and shaking it. I just flew at them and had my hands in the pit bull's mouth trying to get it to let loose."
She said she was not really aware of anything else but realized "every other dog owner on that beach was there kicking and punching and pulling at the pit bull to get it off. It seemed to go on for ages but I imagine it was five or 10 minutes. I thought my dog was dead."
The pit bull's owner never appeared and she still doesn't
know who the owner is.
Wray heard later Wednesday that friends who live near the park in Chemainus are busily trying to discover where the pit bull came from and who owns it.
"Finally, my dog got free and I didn't know what shape it was in. It was screaming and crying. I didn't dare move it, just held it tight in my arms. As I was going I saw the girl with the Irish setter had the pit bull by its collar. It had blood dripping out of its mouth and it was staring at me. Not a pretty sight."
One of the women from the beach drove her and Zorro to the animal hospital in Chemainus.
"The doctor was wonderful. And the girls stayed overtime, too, as they did surgery and cleaned it up," she praised.
Her dog has about 20 stitches closing his wound, and Wray said she's going to try to find the pit bull's owner and make them pay the bill.
Wray was also bitten in the tussle and was headed out to the hospital to get a tetanus shot Wednesday afternoon and to have her own wounds looked at.
"I had my hand right in the pit bull's mouth. If there hadn't been other people on that beach I could have gotten mauled myself," she said.
She said she didn't know if any of the other dog owners were bitten.
In spite of his ordeal Zorro is looking perky.
Wray is now concentrating on finding out more about the pit bull, which she wants either put down or forced to wear a muzzle. Wray said she was concerned that a possibly dangerous dog was loose in a popular park.
"We used to take our little granddaughter there and she'd roam around on the beach. I wouldn't know if this thing would go after children as well. How would you know that? It went for a puppy. So, that's what I'm looking for. I've got a police file on the go right now."
Wray also expressed gratitude to the other dog owners on the scene that afternoon.
"I want to thank the people who were helping. I have no idea who they were. Maybe they could contact the Citizen and leave their numbers there. I'd like to call them and tell them how grateful I am," she said.