Early morning mauling causes serious but non-life-threatening injuries
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
In the spring of 2013, the City of New Westminster abolished a bylaw deeming certain breeds of dog as vicious and in need of special provisions for both dog and owner. Pit bulls, prior to the ruling, were included on that list of breeds deemed vicious enough to ban from New Westminster. Following an incident in the early morning of July 23, civil servants and residents alike are calling into question these bylaw changes.
At approximately 2:45 a.m. at an apartment building located at 325 Ash Street, neighbours reported what sounded like people screaming and a dog barking to the New Westminster Police. Upon arrival, they found a pit bull—already in a safe place, quarantined on the suite’s balcony—as well as a man and a woman with serious injuries to the head and face. Two small children were in the apartment at the time, unharmed and having apparently slept through the entire incident.
The man, and woman, who was covered in a blanket to hide her face and head, were taken out of the building and to Royal Columbian Hospital with serious but ultimately non-life-threatening injuries. New Westminster animal control services have removed the dog from the dwelling and are still deciding whether to euthanize the dog or return it to the couple, who are presumed to be the owners.
Since the pit bull has no tags, James Doan, supervisor for New Westminster’s animal services, isn’t giving a definitive answer as to whether they are the dog’s owners. Animal services are looking into whether the dog has had an incident similar to this in the past—a factor which will undoubtedly play a big role in deciding this dog’s fate. What exactly prompted the sudden attack has not been determined yet.
Some residents are uncomfortable with the possibility of the dog being returned to the couple; one neighbour, Lori Hilton, spoke to CBC News, remarking during a brief interview that “No matter how good [pit bulls] can be, they can change on a dime. They are like walking sharks.”
In contrast to the neighbours, Doan made sure, during an interview with the New Westminster NewsLeader, to point out to the public that no good comes out of stereotyping certain breeds of dogs as inherently vicious and dangerous to the public.
“It could be any animal,” Doan remarked.