Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Pit-Bull Ownership

"We hopped the fence and found her in the balcony being severely mauled by this pit bull. She had significant blood loss and flesh loss as well. It was doing a number on her."
"He [the dog] paused long enough for us to get [the woman] out of the doorway and let the door shut [after repeatedly bashing it with a stout piece of wood]."

"In the time I went from [getting on] the balcony to hitting the dog, he’d bit chunks of her three or four times right in front of me, while I was hitting."
"I’d like to see (Rideau-Vanier ward Coun.) Mathieu Fleury and bylaw [services] do something. There’s a lot of pit-bulls in Vanier and there aren’t enough people who are educated about how they can be."
Michael Holmes, neighbour

"I tried to grab anything clean I could put on the wounds because they were horrific gashes [Lindsay, professional first-aid instructor]. You could see down to the fatty tissue and the tendons on her arm."
"When the paramedics came they put tourniquets on her arm and leg so she was bleeding quite a bit."
Lindsey Holmes, neighbour
dog mauling
Lindsay Holmes and Michael Holmes stand in their backyard. Behind them is the fence they jumped to save their neighbour being mauled by a pit bull.
"[It was a] freak accident. I train pit bulls. I train Rottweillers. All dogs that have teeth bite! If the owners are stupid, they have stupid dogs."
"It's like a two-year-old kid. If you train them properly not to be an assh---, then they won't be."
Garfield, Vanier neighbour
 The unidentified woman fortunate enough to have had neighbours come to her rescue while she was being mauled, lives in the house behind that of Lindsay and Michael Holmes, on the street backing on their own, in the Vanier area of Ottawa. Michael Holmes, interviewed in the aftermath of the incident where he and his wife saved the life of a stranger, spoke of his frustration at the presence of pit-bull type dogs in his community, plenty of them, despite that they're outlawed in Ontario.

The woman who had been mauled lives upstairs in the house she shares with her daughter, who lives in the downstairs portion of the house. Both mother and daughter each owned their own pit-bull-type dogs. The mother had gone downstairs in her daughter's absence to feed her dog, when it turned on her and began viciously mauling her. Fortunately for her the Holmes couple heard her frantic calls for help and they responded with alacrity.

Afterward, the daughter's husband said there was no history of aggression with the dog, they're unable to account for the attack, since his mother-in-law was familiar with the dog and often looked after it in their absence. "We're just devastated", he said, both presumably that his mother-in-law might have lost her life, and the very pertinent fact that his dog is now scheduled to lose its, even while the Ottawa Humane Society has been its temporary custodian, post-attack.

The ban on pit-bulls was brought into law in 2005. Any existing pit-bulls were exempt, but the dogs had to be sterilized and muzzled in public, as well as being kept on leash. That same law prohibits the ownership and presence of pit-bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit-bull terriers; in fact any dog which "has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs".

Obviously, there has been little-to-no enforcment of the general ban, something the neighbours of the 50-year-old woman whose arm doctors were uncertain they would be able to save from amputation, were quite exercised about. The dogs owned by this very woman and her daughter were no more than three or four years old, their ownership in direct defiance of the law. "They're everywhere in Vanier. I almost lost my eye", said Guy Cloutier, of an episode where a neighbour's pit-bull attacked him.

"He [the pit-bull owner] didn't want to give me the money [he owed], so he sent his dog after me instead", he said, adding that the man was placed in jail and his dog taken into custody. "Lots of young men have them", said his friend Diane Monette with whom he had been strolling down the street when they were interviewed. "Crack dealers have them. It's really too bad." Another neighbour, Pierre, spoke of his own "weird guy" of a neighbour who allows his pit-bill to wander about without a leash or muzzle.

And then there was the man who divulged his first name only as Garfield, who said he has pit-bulls himself. And as he and the interviewer approached a nearby house the door opened and as it did two heavily-muscled dogs bearing the tell-tale square heads bounded out onto the street. At which point, Garfield, who was so effusive about the unnecessary fear of pit-bulls screamed out "Don't look at the dogs! Look at me!"

A month earlier, a 55-year-old woman was attacked by a pit-bull in her own backyard. Her funeral followed shortly afterward. Her neighbour's dog had gone into hers through a hole in their shared fence. "There's a need, and a want, to take some action on this, from all the neighbours I spoke to", said Michael Holmes. "Nobody wants this to happen a second time. Who's next? A child?"

Christiane Vadnais, left, died Wednesday after she was attacked by what police described as a pit bull. An autopsy is expected to take place next week.
Christiane Vadnais, left, died June 9 after she was attacked by what police described as a pit bull. (Facebook)

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