Two pit bulls from Peachland have been seized by animal control after they attacked a neighbor’s dog, ripping it apart and nearly killing it last week.
Heather Bridge says she was returning home from the Kelowna airport when she received a call from her 14-year-old stepdaughter saying their yellow lab Jovi had gotten loose and she could hear what sounded like a dogfight going on nearby.
According to Bridge, the girl followed the sounds and asked the owners of the pit bulls what was going on, that person could not locate her dogs either and together they came across all three dogs fighting in another yard.
“By the time we got home, the poor guy was just covered in mud and snow and blood. They got him in so many places,” says Bridge.
“We’ve been concerned about these dogs for a while, because what they would constantly do is when they’re outside, and see our dogs or kids outside, they come rushing up to the fence like the proverbial junkyard dog.”
While still on route to Peachland, Bridge called the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital and alerted them of the situation. She says Dr. Moshe Oz agreed to stay late, perform the surgery and do it all free of charge.
“We don’t know how injured he is because we’re not even home yet, but can we bring him in? And they said, ‘of course’,” explains Bridge.
“When we got home, we tried to clean him up a little bit and wrapped him up in a blanket as best as we could and took him down there. We got him there around 4:30 p.m. and they ended up staying there until 7 p.m. They did two and a half hours of surgery and cleaned him all up.”
Dr. Oz remembers the incident well, noting the dog has come back nearly everyday for checkups since the incident occurred on March 6.
“(The dog) was severely injured. It basically took us hours to do the surgery and dozens of stitches. His leg, neck, chest, anal area around the tail all were chewed up. He was in severe pain of course and basically in shock,” says Dr. Oz.
“The dog was absolutely lucky to tell you the truth. His neck was punctured and it was only a matter of a few milimetres from the jugular. The leg was completely punctured where the joints are so it’s a huge risk of infection.”
Bridge says Jovi is doing better, but is still very skittish when given the opportunity to go outside. She also understands that she is partially to blame for her dog getting out, adding he has not been neutered and may have been following a scent.
“We feel partly at fault because our dog did wander and get away, but he didn’t ask to get viciously attacked within an inch of his life.”
An animal control officer attending to the incident seized the dogs the following day, and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan says this is not the first time the dogs and their owners have run afoul of the law.
“Dog control received a warrant on March 7 from a judge to seize the two pit bulls and they are currently being held at the regional dog pound while the investigation continues,” says Bruce Smith with the RDCO.
“We know that in September 2013, one of the two pit bulls was deemed aggressive after attacking another dog. And the owners have received two tickets since September for failing to keep the dog in an enclosure as required under the bylaw.”
He says the investigation is continuing, but Bridge will only be satisfied when a strict punishment is handed down.
“My issue is where did the cracks in the system happen that it got to this point? Why did this attack happen when other things should have been dealt with and they weren’t,” she says.
“Our long term goal is this: We're not optimistic we'll see anything out of it. The bigger issue is if these people get a lifetime ban on owning a dog, then our job is done and it was worth it. The concern I have at the moment is there’s another dog running around in their backyard right now.”
Bridge says it is a three-month-old Great Dane. She first noticed the new dog earlier this week, after the others had been taken away.