Kathy Klassen scrolls through pictures of bloodied clothes on her digital camera that look like something out of a horror movie.
These are images from one of the latest dog attacks in Penticton. One that left Klassen’s whippet, Pip, with numerous injuries and her owner with a bit of anxiety and a $2,200 vet bill that continues to grow.
“There was so much blood,” recalls Klassen of the incident that took place on Aug. 20.
Klassen had been walking her dog on leash in the Wiltse area when a rottweiler escaped its yard and attacked her dog. Klassen tried to intervene, but the rottie sunk its teeth into her dog’s hind area, legs, neck and took down Klassen, who was left with bruises on her legs and a nasty claw mark on her left hand. Klassen said she doesn’t know if she can walk the area again without the fear of another attack.
“It frightens me to think that the dog is still there and if a gate gets left open it will do it again. I saw a woman who runs a day care walking with young children near there a few days ago and I wanted to scream at them to get the kids away,” said Klassen, who added she wishes the city would put the rottie in a secure area until it is rehabilitated.
Rose Gingras, dog control officer, said she cannot comment on any incidents that are still under investigation at this time. She did stress the importance that people call her if there is an incidence of dog aggression or behaviours that could lead to future problems. This way a file is built on the animal, the dog owners can be contacted to be made aware of the issue and it puts the onus on the owner, who could face fines or possibly their dog being taken away.
In May, Jen Levesque-Ganzeveld had taken her miniature dachshund, Poncho, to a friend’s house in Summerland like she had many times before. She let her dog out of the car and was walking towards the house when she heard a yelp.
“I looked back and a dog had my dog by the neck and he was ripping him back and forth,” she recalls of the incident. “I had to fight him off with my leash because I couldn’t do anything else, and at that point everyone ran out of the house because they could hear me screaming and it was pretty much too late. Poncho was laying on the ground and he had blood gushing out of his neck. It was so traumatic, watching my dog getting attacked like that.”
Poncho was rushed to a vet clinic in Kelowna where he stayed for four days until they could stabilize the dog to do surgery. Dr. Laurel Casey’s report shows Poncho had severe injuries to his neck due to not only being bit but shaken. In the analysis, the vet said these types of bites tend to be malicious attacks with the intention of “severely injuring or even killing the victim.” The vet bill ringed in at just over $2,000.
“I asked the owner to pay the vet bills and he hasn’t called me or even apologized. He hasn’t taken any responsibility, and when I called animal control to report it they said they couldn’t do anything because it happened on private property. All they said is they can go see him and tell him to do the right thing, but that is all they could do. I just recently found out his dog is alive,” said Levesque-Ganzeveld, who said she also heard from another woman that her puppy’s jaw was broken previously by the same dog.
Recently, a small Yorki-poo was also attacked and killed. Karen Scarfo said she was visiting family in Trout Creek when her dog, Amy, got out of the yard. Scarfo contacted dog control who informed her a small dog was killed earlier in the day and it was probably hers. Witnesses to the incident told Scarfo a dog was off-leash with its owner in the park by the tennis courts and started attacking Amy. Scarfo was told the witnesses informed the dog’s owner that it was hurting the smaller dog and the owner disagreed.
“Next thing they knew, my dog wasn’t moving,” said Scarfo.
While Scarfo admits the $50 fine she was later administered for her dog being at large and not on a leash is warranted, it is worrisome that the other dog owner just received a $50 fine as well.
“As a dog owner you need to intervene and take care of your dog and make sure it doesn’t hurt anything. What if it was a little kid playing around there? Would the dog have hurt it?” questioned Scarfo. “People just need to be more responsible if they are having their dogs off-leash.”