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.