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Dog bites toddler's face in Abbotsford playground

Ashley Patrignani holds her 19-month-old daughter Miah at the Jackson Elementary playground. While there on Friday, the little girl was bitten in the face by what appeared to be a pitbull. Police now want to talk to the dog’s owner. - Neil Corbett
Ashley Patrignani holds her 19-month-old daughter Miah at the Jackson Elementary playground. While there on Friday, the little girl was bitten in the face by what appeared to be a pitbull. Police now want to talk to the dog’s owner.
— image credit: Neil Corbett

Ashley Patrignani was watching her daughter play with the seemingly friendly dog running loose in the Jackson Elementary playground on King Road Friday evening, when it suddenly turned on the toddler, biting her face.

Little Miah fell to the ground and the dog, which looked like a pitbull, grabbed her leg.

Ashley beat the dog away, literally punching it in the face.

The man with the dog took control of the animal and apologized. He said it was not his dog, that he was only watching it, and then left the scene.

It was approximately 7 p.m.

Ashley was left to walk some three kilometers to the hospital, with Miah’s face bleeding. The 19-month-old suffered puncture wounds inside her nose, and scratches on her face.

“He said, ‘I hope she’s okay,’ and took off,” Patrignani told CTV.

“What kind of person can do that? She’s not even two!”

Abbotsford Police would like to speak to the owner of the dog, which answers to to the name Kira. It is brown in colour, with lighter colouring on its head. The handler of the dog is a man about six feet tall, with a medium build and short brown hair, age estimated at 20 to 30.

Const. Ian MacDonald said APD officers visited the toddler in hospital, and then canvassed the neighbourhood for witnesses. They have also been in touch with animal control, to see whether there have been past incidents involving this animal.

“A person who should have stepped up and taken responsibility clearly didn’t do that,” MacDonald said.

The punishment for the dog and its owner could range from a simple apology to putting the dog down, depending on the seriousness of other incidents the dog may have been involved in, he said.

“If this is a one-off, maybe things can be made right with this family,” MacDonald said. “But hiding and laying low is the wrong thing to do.”

He cautioned parents about the risks of allowing their child to play with a strange dog.

Patrignani said her daughter is still having trouble sleeping, but her face is healing. She says she doesn’t want the dog put down, just for the owner to step up.

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