Senior recounts dog attack: 'I didn't do anything to him'
When there's a pit bull, Rottweiler or similar large-breed dog in her path, Mary Gural typically takes the long way around.
It was a strategy the 84-year-old put into practice on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 2, when she and her husband came out of the McDonald's restaurant on Fortune Drive to find a Rottweiler tied to a post right next to their car.
I turned around and said to my husband, 'I don't like the looks of that dog. Let's walk around it,'" Gural told KTW.
She was about 15 feet from the animal when it lunged, knocking her to the ground and sinking its teeth into her arm.
"And next thing I knew, I was on the ground, I had banged my head, the dog was gone and my arm was bleeding," Gural said a few days after the attack, which left her arm black and blue from her fingers up past her elbow.
The bite itself required 98 stitches to repair.
"I didn't do anything to him. I wasn't even near him," she said. "If I would have provoked him or something — but, all I did was look at him when I walked out the door and he looked at me, and next thing I knew he was at me."
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Midnight the Rottweiler was put down, in part because of the severity of Gural's wounds.
However, City of Kamloops bylaw services supervisor John Ramsey said there are still questions about why the dog — which had bitten another person only a few months before — was even in the city.
Midnight had already spent five weeks in city custody after biting a Canada Post worker on June 1.
In order to get the dog back, Ramsey said its owner had to meet a number of conditions. Midnight had to be muzzled, microchipped and kept in a special enclosure.
The owner wasn't able to build the required kennel in town and elected to move the dog out of the city instead, Ramsey said.
If Midnight came back to Kamloops, bylaw services was supposed to be alerted.
"We just don't know why they didn't notify us," Ramsey said. "That's part of the conditions. So we're still actively investigating some stuff."
Midnight's owner will likely face a fine, though Ramsey said the department is still examining its legal options.
This is the second serious dog attack in Kamloops in the past six months.
In April, two American Staffordshire terriers attacked a man near Thompson Rivers University. The man suffered multiple bites and was taken to hospital.
A local animal trainer and former Rottweiler breeder is asking the public not to blame all dogs of similar breeds for the attacks.
"All dogs have teeth, all dogs can bit," said Robert Gill.
"We're not going to fix the problem by pointing fingers."
Gill would like to see the city send dogs who have displayed aggressive tendencies to obedience training and require proof they have completed a course.
"The owners need to understand they need to have something fixed," he said.
But, Coun. Ken Christian and Mayor Peter Milobar, who sit on the city's co-ordinated enforcement task force, said they don't see the city tweaking its dog bylaw after the attacks.
"There's conditions put on dogs that are supposed to minimize, things like muzzling and not running at large, which, if they had been followed by the owner, the dog attack would not have happened," Milobar said, noting even training won't help if an owner isn't willing to take day-to-day responsibility for the animal.
Christian believes mandatory training would be difficult to enforce.
"The kind of people that generally have those kind of animals are not the kind of people that are going to readily submit to a city-ordered training program," he said.
Christian said despite the two high-profile attacks, the number of animal-human conflicts in the city is actually on the decline, which he takes as a sign the current policies are working.
"These are awful incidents and they need to be dealt with," he said. "But, let's not react by changing a bylaw because of a particular incident rather than changing a bylaw because there's a trend that shows you need to."
Gural, for her part, is glad this particular Rottweiler won't get another chance to bite anyone, but mostly she wants people to stop tying their animals in front of public entranceways.
"A dog like that, or any dog, should not be tied up near a public area, fast food, where there's children around and people coming out of the building," she said.
"You never know what's going to happen, whether it's a poodle or whatever."