Ravin Perrier said she’ll never bring another dog to the off-leash dog park after her chihuahua-papillon dog was attacked and killed by what is believed to be a pit bull-mix Tuesday afternoon.
The 18-year-old brought her dog Gus to the dog park on Winnipeg Avenue around 2 p.m. yesterday when he was attacked.
"It was a big mess," she said, tearfully Wednesday afternoon. "He just jumped on (Gus) and wouldn’t let go of him. I tried to get him apart. The owner came and finally got him off. By that time Gus was already dead."
Two bystanders gave Perrier a ride to the veterinarian where it was confirmed the small dog was deceased. The owner of the pit bull mix also came to the vet’s office and apologized for what had happened.
Larger dogs on the small dog side of the park is a frequent occurrence, said Perrier, adding incidents like this are exactly why the smaller dogs should be separated from the bigger ones.
Ellen Lang agrees. The Thunder Bay woman often brings her Yorkshire terrier Hunter to the off-leash park and said she’ll just drive by if she sees big dogs in the wrong side of the park.
"Sometimes I get annoyed and I kick them out," she said, adding it was only a matter of time before something like Tuesday’s incident occurred.
"There are some aggressive dogs that come in here and the owners seem to ignore the fact they’re aggressive," Lang said. "What can you do about it?"
There is a large sign stating the rules and regulations for the park, but Lang said she’s never seen the rules enforced or anyone from the city come check out the park.
"There are just some people that insist on coming in the gate and there’s nothing you can do," she said. "It’s a few bad apples that ruin it for the rest of us."
She added people often say they’re going to call someone about the issue, but they don’t know who to call.
Tuesday’s attack is being investigated by Animal Services and supervisor Jody Kondrat said she couldn’t comment on the incident because of that investigation.
For a first-time offence, a restraint order is usually issued where a dog who has attacked or bitten a human or other domestic animal has to be leashed and muzzled while on public property. For subsequent or more serious offences, charges can be laid under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act.
"The courts under that legislation may order a restraint order or they may issue a destruction order," Kondrat said.
Complaints or concerns about the off-leash parks should be directed to the city’s parks division and while there are rules for using the dog park, Kondrat said it’s up to the pet owners to self-police the park.
"Having said that, if an incident like this does occur in any part of the city and particularly in an off-leash park, pet owners are subject to any charges under the legislation or any of our bylaws," she said.
Perrier said she did record the other owner’s information and will not be letting go of the matter.
"He should have trained his dog better and put him on the (big dog) side," she said, adding Gus will be sorely missed by the entire Perrier family.
"He was always a good dog; he never bit anyone," she said. "All he did was just play and he loved going to the puppy park. It was his favourite place. Now that’s ruined."