A Nanaimo woman is devastated and questioning whether she did enough to try to save her pet after an attack on her dog led to it being euthanized.
It also left her determined to make sure the same fate doesn’t happen to other dogs and their owners.
Roxy Noble was walking her three small dogs on leashes to the Beaufort Park off-leash area on Chelsea Street around 5 p.m. May 18, when she spied a woman with a pit bull in the park.
“She saw me coming with the three little dogs and immediately put her hand on her dog’s collar to hold it, but I wasn’t comfortable with that,” she said.
Noble changed her mind and walked the dogs onto the fields of Dufferin Crescent Elementary School, heading for a gate that led to Seafield Crescent.
“I noticed two girls with a big dog on the soccer field, but they seemed far enough away so it was fine,” she said.
About five metres from the gate, Noble saw the dog, an Akita, running toward her.
“It had a nylon gentle-leader on and a retractable leash that was locked right up to its neck,” she said. “There’s no way those girls were playing with that dog with a leash retracted to its collar.”
Noble put herself between her dogs and the Akita, put out her hand and yelled “bah”.
The Akita stopped, sniffed two of the dogs and then sniffed Diva, a 12-year-old dachshund/terrier cross, which backed away.
“She moved ever so slightly forward to walk around the dog and he grabbed her and shook her,” said Noble. “The girls came running over, grabbed the Akita’s leash and began pulling and I was trying to pull Diva away but he wasn’t letting go so I kicked him in the hindquarter and he dropped her.”
Noble and her partner rushed Diva to the veterinarian where an examination discovered bite wounds to her chest and back and rib fractures. The dog developed a flail chest as muscles broke away from her rib cage and was euthanized May 19.
“The vet said her prognosis was poor to grave even with surgery,” said Noble, who served the Akita’s owner with legal documents to recover the $1,200 vet bill in small claims court.
Noble doesn’t blame the dog, but its owners for what happened.
“It’s not for me to say this dog should be euthanized. I don’t know if it’s a vicious dog,” she said, “But I know what it did to my dog and I don’t want anyone else to go through what we’re going through.
“It’s devastating. There is no other word for it. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you cry all the time. My little joy is gone and I wonder if I could have done something differently.”
A memorial walk for Diva takes place Saturday (June 2) from 4-5 p.m. on the field at Dufferin school and Noble hopes people attend to make a statement on the laws surrounding dog attacks.
“This is not big dogs against little dogs, it’s about owners taking responsibility when their dogs screw up,” said Noble. “This dog has one strike against it, and it can have another and then three strikes you’re out. What are we going to wait for? Is it going to be another dog or a little kid?”
Gary Thiel, an animal control officer with Coastal Animal Services, wouldn’t comment on the incident as it is under investigation.