Rarely in life has Donna Tetrault felt more helpless than she has the last few days.
Helpless as her beloved dog Aiden was attacked by a pitbull. Helpless as a veterinarian worked long hours to try and save his life and helpless because she doesn’t know who to blame.
She doesn’t know where the pitbull came from or why it was allowed to run free. She doesn’t know who owns the dog.
All she knows is she had to pay $4,700 to save Aiden, and she’s terrified it could happen again.
|Donna Tetrault took pictures of the damage done to her dog Aiden by an aggressive pitbull.|
“When we went on walks before, I worried about running into not-so-nice people, or dropping the leash and having Aiden run into traffic,” the 78-year-old said. “But I’ve rarely seen a loose dog, and never expected something like this to happen.
“My poor little dog (a nine-year-old, 13 pound Havanese) did nothing and probably never knew what hit him.”
Tetrault lives in a gated complex on Young Road. On the day of the attack, Sept. 9, she and Aiden left the complex and ended up in the parking lot of Chilliwack City Hall. Seconds after Aiden dropped some poop in the grass, the pitbull came up from behind, clamped its big jaws around the little dogs neck and started shaking.
“I didn’t expect it to be so silent,” she said. “I always thought when a dog attacks there’d be snarls and growls and a big kerfuffle. But no. This dog walked up silently behind me and silently grabbed my dog. Aiden yelped once, and that was it. Nothing more.”
Because it happened so quietly, Tetrault had to yell to get assistance. Nearby construction workers ran over to help separate the dogs.
She grabbed Aiden and rushed him to nearby Cheam View Veterinary Hospital where he was hurried into surgery.
“It was a long time before the vet (Dr. Kuldeep Chahal) came back out, but when he did he said, ‘It’s bad. It’s very, very bad,’” Tetrault recalled.
Another veterinarian was summoned, and for the next four hours Tetrault waited, anxiously hoping her beloved pet would pull through.
When the surgery was over, Chahal walked into the waiting room with a mask on his face but glee in his eyes.
Aiden made it.
“He actually walked on his own four legs into the waiting room, which was so wonderful,” Tetrault said. “He’s such a sweetheart. He’s the dog that loves everyone, and everyone loves Aiden.”
The pitbull ran off, and was later located and taken in by Chilliwack Animal Control.
“We can confirm that the offending dog was impounded at the scene on Sept. 9 and held at CARE Centre in Chilliwack for seven days,” said Angelique Crowther. “The dog owner was fined for the offence of ‘Dog Causing Injury’ and the dog was found to meet the criteria of an ‘Aggressive Dog’ and was designated as such under the FVRD Animal Control Bylaw. This required the dog owner to follow a strict set of requirements including leashing and muzzling of the dog when it is not contained. Animal Control Officers inspected the property of the offending dog owner to ensure that containment requirements could be met, and the owner was able to claim their dog upon payment of impound, board, and licensing fees.
“In respect to sharing the name of the offending dog’s owner, due to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, personal information for either party is not disclosed at any time.”
Tetrault is bothered that she won’t be told the name of the owner.
“I don’t care about the money,” she said. “My dog was going to get that surgery no matter what, but at least if the owner paid it, they’d be taking responsibility for what their dog did, and I think they should.”
Someone told her she could sue, but without the name(s) of the owner(s), who does she sue?
Ultimately, Tetrault comes back to that feeling of helplessness.
“I’d like to tell people to be more vigilant, but I didn’t see that dog until it was right there, so being more vigilant wouldn’t have helped me,” she said. “You can’t ask people to not walk in that area. Since I don’t know the owner and no one will tell me, I guess all I can say is the owners of a dog that would do something like that need to be a heckuva lot more careful and make sure their dog is contained.”