Toronto Animal Services is investigating two dog attacks in Toronto’s east end and has issued a dangerous dog order against the animal’s owner.
Witnesses to the more recent attack, on July 28th, recounted a “horrific situation” that led to the death of a small dog.
“I heard a man call his dog and I just saw the dog whisk by the chain link fence and a few seconds later, I heard a woman screaming and then a dog yelping and screaming, and I ran out and the woman, the owner of the dog, was really in panic mode,” recalled Faith Walker.
A Chihuahua owner herself, Walker said she felt compelled to help the small dog, and only later discovered she had become covered in blood in the process.
“It was just too late, it had been mauled and savaged three or four different times in that attack,” said Walker.
Toronto Police confirm officers responded to a 911 call for an animal bite report on July 28 at approximately 5:20pm in the Gerrard and Coxwell area.
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There were also calls made to 311 for Toronto Animal Services.
According to the City of Toronto website, “If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, report the bite or attack to Toronto Public Health and Toronto Animal Services as soon as possible. If you are transported to the hospital, report the bite or attack to Toronto Public Health and Toronto Animal Services as soon as possible after treatment is complete.”
Another witness told Global News, “It was madness. It was people running all over the place. There were fights breaking out. The owners weren’t able to control their dog.”
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That same witness, whose young child attends daycare in the neighbourhood, expressed concern that the dog’s owners will not abide by the Dangerous Dog Order.
“I feel pretty unsafe because the owner was allowed to take the dog home. There seemed to be minimal restrictions on the dog and it’s predicated on the dog having responsible owners that it’s muzzled and obviously they’re not, this isn’t the first instance that it’s even happened,” he said.
“If something happens to another dog or a small child or something, then where does the liability fall? Does it fall on the owners? But at that point, if it hurts a child, it’s too late. So what are Animal Services and the police doing about this? They’re leaving it basically in the hands of the community,” said the witness.
Toronto Animal Services issued the Dangerous Dog Order on Friday, August 5th, noting it “requires control measures for the dog which include muzzling, microchipping, wearing a dangerous dog tag and mandatory training.”
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However, Global News spoke with a dog owner in the neighbourhood who suggested she has seen the dog since last Friday without a muzzle.
“I’m pretty sure I saw the dog again yesterday walking up the road without a muzzle on … everyone on the street I’m going to share with you is really aware of this dog and so we just keep our eyes out and if we see what we think is the dog with the owner we just go the other way,” said the dog owner who witnessed the deadly attack but wishes to remain anonymous.
The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal conducts an independent review of Dangerous Dog Orders issued by the City, according to the City of Toronto’s website.
“The Tribunal hears appeals from dog owners who are served with an order to comply with a Dangerous Dog Order and has the authority to confirm the determination of a dangerous dog order or rescind the determination and exempt the owner from compliance. In making a decision, the Tribunal may consider whether a dog was acting in self-defence when the dangerous dog act occurred.”
Faith Walker, who said she has relived the death of the small dog several times since the attack, is concerned that it is now incumbent on residents to ensure their own safety.
“Why are we as a community all having to take the risk and bear the brunt? And, you know, people like me who are willing to speak up? There’s a risk for me as being someone who is just so concerned that I’m going to put it out there anyway. I don’t want anyone else to go through this,” she said.
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