Dog euthanized after attack

Update: Bruce Smith of the RDCO contacted Castanet Friday, and says the owner of the two pit bulls involved in the incident voluntarily surrendered one of his dogs this morning, and it has been humanely euthanized. 

"(The owner) will be ticketed for failing to control a dangerous dog ($200) and dog in a prohibited area ($100) for the other pit bull, which is deemed dangerous under the bylaw."

It is believed the dog that was euthanized was the more dangerous of the two pit bulls involved in the attack.

Gentle giant Bella is being hailed as a hero after she put herself in harms way to protect her owner and her daughter, from two off-leash pit bulls who charged the trio in an open field.

Cindy Switzer had taken her daughter and dog for a walk near the former Bellevue Elementary School field, but as they approached the public entrance they were rushed by the two dogs.

"My daughter was on one side and my wife and the dog, who was on leash, were on the other side. From what I understand the pit bulls came up to them and immediately attacked Bella," explains Scott Switzer, of the incident.

Bella was bitten several times by the two pit bulls before their owner, who appeared in his early 20's, was able to break apart the fight.

Cindy rushed Bella to Fairfield Animal Hospital where she spent several hours in surgery, three days in care, and landed the Switzer's with a total veterinary bill of over $1200.

"We were told she had approximately 100 stitches, internal as well as external, there was a lot of muscle tissue damage," says Scott.

The Switzer's called the RCMP who in turn contacted the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Animal Control and are currently investigating the matter.

RDCO Communications Officer Bruce Smith says at this point in the investigation it is hard to say if the two pit bulls will be seized.

"The likely course of action, given no history with any of the dogs and that no humans were physically injured in this (case), is that we could go with a consent order or we would go with tickets and fines," says Smith.

Those fines could total upwards of $1,000, and if a court order is put into place the pit bulls owners may have to consent to the 'Dangerous Dog' Bylaw.

The bylaw imposes rules such as ensuring the dogs won't kill or seriously injury anyone, as well as placing the dogs on a short leash when in public or having the owner build an enclosure for the animals.

As the dogs have not been seized by the RDCO, the Switzer's are warning those living near the former Bellevue Elementary School to be extra vigilant when walking their pets as the pit bulls also live in the area.

"These pit bulls have a pretty good track record of escaping yards and pens," says Scott. "If these dogs have done it once then it is going to happen again."

While the finger may be pointed at the breed in this instance, Smith says the RDCO does not have any breed specific regulations and all dogs are treated the same.

The pit bull owner did apologize to Cindy for what happened and according to the Switzer's the young man did seem to be remorseful.


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