Farwell resident Vittoria Van Leur’s Pomeranian faced abdominal surgery on Monday morning after a dog described as a pit bull randomly attacked it.
“It just came charging at us,” Van Leur said of the Sunday afternoon attack. She was out with her two small dogs (the other’s a Jack Russell) and was walking on the riverside path near Wilson Street and the Big Eddy Bridge when the dog charged them.
Van Leur had little time to react; she tried to yank the dogs up by their leashes, but couldn’t manage it in time.
“She just rag-dolled her,” Van Leur said of the attack. “It only had one intention and that was to kill my dog today.”
The pit bull ripped the the Pomeranian Shilo from its leash. Van Leur slapped at the attacking dog with the leash until it let go. But it soon attacked again, continuing to thrash the Pomeranian around.
“I kind of went all momma bear and lunged at him,” Van Leur said. She kicked and hit at the dog, until it released Shilo again, and she snatched up Shilo. She then made a bee-line for her home a few blocks away.
I actually encountered Van Leur a moment after the attack; in tears, she cradled the shocked dog and rushed down the street to get Shilo to the vet. She was almost too exasperated to talk. I offered her a ride to the vet, but she declined.
I was doing an interview at the time, so myself and my interviewee jumped in my car to go look for Van Leur’s Jack Russell, who had bolted. (He actually ran home.)
Shilo is stable and under observation and was scheduled for possible surgery on Monday.
More than one person called the RCMP. Van Leur said she wants the situation dealt with. The dog, she said, was roaming free and had no enclosure, no fence and no tether. At the busy pedestrian intersection by the Big Eddy Bridge, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Van Leur heard the police had fined the owner, but she wants assurances the situation will be dealt with.
“I want to bring awareness to this,” Van Leur said. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Your pets are your family. It’s terrible.” She worried a child could be next.
Back at Wilson Street, I spoke with neighbours, who complained there has been open drug activity at the Wilson Street cabins complex for years.
Nearby, a mom walked with her teacup dog and her young son. I told them about the attack; they said they knew of the dog and were wary of it.
Area residents said they see people coming and going into particular cabins, and that police cars and ambulances are a common sight.
Residents wonder why city officials and the RCMP can’t seem to get a lid on the drug situation.
Revelstoke RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Thomas Blakney said the police know about the drug activity. “I’m aware there’s a problem,” he said.
The area, Blakney said, was the subject of active patrols and an “ongoing” investigation.
But if there’s a bust, won’t someone else just move in to fill the void? Police said they could take steps against the property owner, depending on the outcome of criminal investigations.
However, Blakney said it was too early to connect the dog attack with drug activity.
Police did fine the owner using a municipal bylaw that forbids having a vicious dog not securely confined on an owner’s property, Blakney said.
Police will be following up with the whereabouts of the dog tomorrow – they heard it had been relocated.
They have received a request to have the dog destroyed, but under city bylaws, that determination is made by city hall animal control.
The RCMP urge community members to report unsecured dogs they feel may be a danger, so that police can get the incidents on record to help deal with them.