Update: 12 p.m. April 4.
The American bulldog that attacked a smaller dog on 30th Street NE on April 2 was euthanized this morning according to the dog’s owner.
The bulldog, a nine-year-old female, had shown aggressive behaviour towards other animals in the past, but the owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said she thought this had been largely corrected by obedience training three years ago. She added the dog had visited the vet and boarded at a local kennel without issue and never showed any aggression towards people.
The owner said she had family and friends over to her house for Easter dinner when she saw that the dog had escaped her yard. She rushed outside and tried to restrain it and her other dog, a smaller-sized pitbull.
During the escape, the bulldog attacked a small-breed dog which was being walked by its owner. The bulldog’s owner spent three or four minutes trying to free the small dog from its jaws before passersby arrived to assist.
A report to animal control from the woman whose dog was attacked said she was walking her dog on a leash when the two dogs escaped from a nearby yard. The woman struggled to free her dog, punching and kicking the bulldog; she suffered an injury to a finger on her left hand and later went to the hospital emergency room for treatment.
The injured dog, whose name is Charlie, survived the attack and is at a local vet receiving treatment.
Dog control officer Pat Ellis said the owners of both the injured and attacking dogs are badly shaken up by the incident.
“It was traumatizing; the worst thing I’ve dealt with in my entire life,” said the owner of the bulldog.
Re-homing the bulldog rather than euthanizing it was a possibility, although Ellis said the dog’s whereabouts and new owner would have to be given to animal control and a muzzle order would likely have been issued.
The owner of the bulldog said she had considered re-homing the dog, possibly to more rural surroundings, like where the dog was living until recently. The owner said the stresses of the dog’s new surroundings may have been a contributing factor in the attack. Concerns that the bulldog would fall into the wrong hands or cause problems for future owners, however, led her to make the decision to euthanize.
A small dog was mauled viciously by a large and aggressive dog on the side of a busy Salmon Arm road on Tuesday, April 2.
Darcy Keehn was one of the first on the scene, which was just north of Setters Pub on 30th Street NE. Keehn was driving to work shortly before 4 p.m. when he happened upon the larger dog sinking its teeth into the smaller one as the small dog’s owner looked on helplessly.
Keehn jumped out of his car and began kicking the dog, but even the impact of his steel-toed boots couldn’t get it to unclench its jaw.
Keehn observed an older woman lying on the ground and another woman on her knees holding on to a second dog as the first attacked the small dog. He described both larger dogs as pitbulls.
“Everybody was screaming so I of course pulled over and ran across the road and started kicking the pitbull with steel toed boots. It was like kicking a stump, it didn’t even look at me. I must have kicked it at least 10 times, maybe more.”
The second large dog did not join the attack.
“I don’t know if it was her dog or whose, she was just screaming, ‘get it off, get it off’ and the other lady was screaming, ‘it’s killing my dog,’” Keehn said.
Keehn said the distressing scene and the dog seeming impervious to his kicks led his adrenaline to take over, making his recollection of the events a blur. He tried to get another man who was mowing a nearby yard to help and by the time they returned, others people had arrived and were trying to free the small dog.
Keehn left the scene and continued on his way to work as an RCMP officer was arriving.
Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sergeant Scott West said the RCMP helped transfer the dog that was attacked and its owner to a local vet and gave their file on the incident to the City of Salmon Arm’s animal control contractor in order to assist with their investigation into the incident.
Dog control officer Pat Ellis who is contracted by the city said the caretaker of the attacking dog has agreed to have the dog euthanized and plans to do so Wednesday. The dog was identified by its caretaker as an American Bulldog.
“We will definitely be making sure that she does put the dog down,” Ellis said.
Ellis said she is uncertain in what way the second large dog on the scene was involved, but the woman looking after the dangerous dog owned a second dog.
Ellis said the woman could be fined up to $500 for the dog’s actions. Animal control has not received any complaints about the dog in the past.
“As far as we’re concerned, if you’re looking after it, you’re responsible,” she said.
Ellis is waiting on a statement from the woman whose dog was the victim of the attack. She said the dog was very seriously injured but was still alive as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story read the owner of the American Bulldog did not own it and was looking after it for her ex-husband. In fact she co-owned the dog with her husband. It also read the owner would not bring the dog in the house because she was afraid for her children’s safety; this is not correct. We regret the errors.