Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Three pit bulls tear into family dogs, send girl to hospital after attack in Calgary off-leash park

Pomeranian euthanized, Great Pyrenees badly injured, 13-year-old with severe bite on hand

By Bryce Forbes, from The Province

A family is devastated after a pack of three pit bulls “ripped” apart one dog, severely injured another and sent one of their children to hospital.

Scott McDowell said his 13-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son were walking their dogs, a Pomeranian named Patrick and a Great Pyrenees named Max, in an off-leash dog park near Millican-Ogden outdoor swimming pool in southeast Calgary.

On Monday afternoon, they came across three pit bulls that were on leashes being handled by one man.

McDowell’s dogs approached the pit bulls and were attacked.

“They [the pit bulls] went nuts,” McDowell said.

His daughter suffered a severe bite to her hand while trying to separate the animals. The owner of the pit bulls tried to get the dogs away, but couldn’t control all three, McDowell said.

“The owner of the other three dogs would pull one dog off, and maybe another, but he had to let them go to grab the third and they’d pounce back on,” he said.

In the end, the Pomeranian endured three deep holes in the chest cavity and was later put down.

The Great Pyrenees, which received 16 stitches, remains in animal hospital and has already accumulated veterinarian bills of $2,000.

The man walking the other three dogs, Stephen Jaquish, says he owns one of the pit bulls and was dog-sitting the other two.

He said it was horrible to watch the attack, and suggests his dogs were provoked.

“My son is in tears,” Jaquish said. “They lost their dog and my son is losing his dog, too — a dog who would never hurt anybody. She’s being deemed dangerous, but I think she was just protecting like any other dog would do.”

McDowell does not blame the breed of dogs, but rather an owner who could not properly handle three large canines.

“He went to the dog park thinking he could handle all three, and he couldn’t,” he said.

“I’m just thankful that my kids weren’t hurt any more than they were.”

He said his daughter would likely need stitches to fix the wound. His son was uninjured.

The pit bulls have been seized by Animal Services and will likely undergo behaviour testing to see whether they should be returned to the owner or euthanized.

A City of Calgary spokesperson said representatives from Animal and Bylaw Services could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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