By Darrell Bellaart, Nanaimo Daily News
A pit bull terrier killed a family cat in its home, and the Nanaimo dog's owner said he can't apologize to his neighbour while the incident is investigated.
Don Izon's 17-year-old house cat was crushed in the pit bull's jaws after it got loose from a neighbour's property.
Izon tried to get the dog, named Max, to let go of the cat then watched in horror as the life was crushed out of a pet that had been with the family since his first son was born.
Max was rescued several weeks ago by Aaron Payne, who was shocked to learn it attacked a cat. It was getting along fine with Payne's five cats.
Max is being held at the city pound. City of Nanaimo animal control has launched an investigation.
Payne said he and his wife Jody learned from the person who gave them the dog it has a "past history," but not until after the attack, and they still don't know the full details of that history.
Izon was shocked to see the life squeezed out of his pet cat. It happened Wednesday after 5 p.m., while he was preparing dinner in his Victoria Road home.
His son, Dylan, had just arrived and was walking up the steps to a sun deck off the living room and kitchen when the dog appeared. It bounded past him, up the deck and through the sliding door to where Niki, the family cat, was sleeping.
Max took the cat in its mouth and started shaking it.
"I was beating the thing. I tried opening its mouth in my hand and it didn't even know I was there," Izon said.
He watched, helpless, as the cat breathed its last breath. Max released Niki briefly, then carried it through the back yard to a grassy field. Izon grabbed a garden rake and chased after the dog, which by now had dropped the cat's carcass. He chased the dog to its home.
"I yelled to the owner. I said: 'Your dog just killed my cat.'"
When Payne saw Izon waving a rake in the air, he swore at him and drove him off his property. He realized what had happened by the time RCMP and animal control officers arrived. He gave up the dog.
"He's fine with our cats, I don't understand," Payne said. "I feel bad but I can't go over and apologize."
He was told not to speak to the neighbour and animal control officials will say little during the while investigation.
Brittany Desousa, a neighbour with a 13-month-old toddler, said the event left her "scared" for her child.
It isn't clear whether the public was at risk from the pit bull, but "the cat certainly was," said Cheryl Zanchetta, animal control officer.
She said Max's Victoria owners had abandoned him, "so we're trying obviously to find out who the original owner was to see if we can get any of the history of him."