Dog bite leaves woman feeling nervous

Aethne Hinchliffe
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Following a dog bite incident, Rose Blanche resident Viola Lawrence said the wounds will heal, but the terror will last forever.

Viola Lawrence from Rose Blanche says she’ll be nervous to take walks in her community now. She was bitten by two dogs while walking on the Harbour Le Cou Trail on Aug. 3. Her injuries required two stitches. Aethne Hinchliffe photo

Mrs. Lawrence decided to take a short walk on the Harbour Le Cou Trail at about 7 p.m. on Aug. 3. She saw a couple of people approaching in the distance. As they got closer, she saw three dogs, none of which was on a leash.

Mrs. Lawrence said she passed the dogs without incident, but one dog - a big black one - turned around and came back.

“He just came, jumped up on me (and) grabbed me right by the shoulder, right there,” she said, pointing to a bruise and red mark on her left arm. “I couldn’t believe it, and I was terrified.”

The two other dogs were there too, snapping, she said. She said she got a less serious bite on her ankle from one of the smaller dogs.

“If the dog had knocked me down and gone for my throat, I think I would have died,” said Mrs. Lawrence.

When the owner heard her, she turned around to help. Mrs. Lawrence said the owner managed to get hold of the dogs’ collars and pull them off.

Once the dogs were off, Mrs. Lawrence said the owner was very concerned and asked if she was OK.

Mrs. Lawrence said the owner of the dog who bit her most severely normally keeps her dog tied on.

“I just don’t know why she didn’t have that dog on a leash at that time walking the trail,” she said.

Later that evening, Mrs. Lawrence said her son took her to the hospital where she got two stitches.

“I told her it’s a possibility I would report it,” she said. “She just said it was up to me.”

Mrs. Lawrence reported it to the RCMP about a week later. A police officer took a photo of her injury and also took the owner’s name and number.

“If a dog is capable of doing that with its owner by its side, he’s got the potential to do it again,” she said.

She said she can’t tell the police what to do, but she thinks the dog should be euthanized.

Cathy Whitehead, the operations NCO of the Bay St. George District, said what happens to a dog following an attack is difficult to say.

“Usually what happens is there will be an investigation, and under the Dog Act, the owner is responsible for having the dog safely penned or tethered (which means tied on),” said Mrs. Whitehead.

In the case a dog is loose when it bites, the owner can be charged for not having the pet properly penned or tied.

She said the police can’t decide whether a dog should be put down but can apply to the court, and it’s ultimately the judge’s decision.

Mrs. Lawrence said she hopes what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else.

reporter@gulfnews.ca

Organizations: RCMP

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  • steve
    August 15, 2011 - 16:41

    I have 2 dogs around 55lbs each.Under no cicumstance are they ever off leash when outside.They are 100 percent my responsibility and if they bite or attack it is 100 percent my fault.Leash laws are there for a reason.this lady would be perfectly within her rights to sue for damages arising from such an attack and would definitely win. IF you own a dog,it is your duty to be accountable for its every action. Saying your dog don,t bite is stupid and irresponsible,we hear it all the time when we are approached by dogs not on a leash,while walking our dogs that are.Its dumb and selfish.

  • Wilf
    August 15, 2011 - 14:58

    It just don't make any sense and there is no logical reason why a dog owner does not have the dog tied or penned.The laws days just that.. I love dogs but I just hate them when they become agressive..What that dog did to Mrs lawrence will be done to a child someday..Mrs Lawrence should persue having that dog put down or else she will fell guilty when the dog attacks someone else..

  • Newfie stuck in Nova Scotia
    August 15, 2011 - 13:55

    This is becoming a common thing today. The law needs to crack down on these people that are not obaying the laws. That will get a slap on the hand and it will happen all over again and again.