Pets and children could be in danger in central Abbotsford, according to a pair of dog owners who say their chihuahua nearly died after being attacked by an unleashed rottweiler.
Ryan Valhalteren was walking the seven-pound Maggie and his other dog Harry, a Min Pin mix, Monday at Babich Park – where dogs are required to be on-leash at all times – when the unexpected happened, he said.
“I’m looking down at the dogs and going up the hill and this big rottweiler comes ripping down the hill and just gets [Maggie in its teeth] right away and starts shaking her,” Vanhalteren said.
He said he tried prying the rottweiler’s jaw open, to release Maggie, before giving up on overcoming its powerful jaws and striking it in the head. Meanwhile, Harry tried to help out by biting at the attacking job, which led the rottweiler to drop Maggie and turn its attention on the Min Pin.
Vanhalteren said he cut his hand on Harry’s leash as he tried to pull him off.
The rottweiler’s owner got to the scene soon after and pulled his pet off the chihuahua, Vanhalteren said. The incident took less than two minutes but lasted long enough for Maggie to suffer two wounds – one behind her front left shoulder, the other on the right side of her abdomen.
“I picked Maggie up and she was bleeding all over the place and breathing funny,” he said.
Vanhalteren got a first name and phone number from the man before calling his wife Briana to tell her what was happening and rushing to drive Maggie to the veterinary hospital.
She underwent surgery, had her wounds stitched and was prescribed medication, costing the Valhaterens more than $1,000. Maggie’s lungs narrowly escaped puncture but did bleed internally. She may need to see an expensive lung specialist in the future.
A $174 blood test revealed liver damage, requiring at least two more future tests at the same cost to monitor her liver.
Vanhalteren said he got a call back from the rottweiler’s owner after repeated tries at contacting him and that he has vowed to pay for at least the initial $1,000 vet bill.
Vanhalteren also called Abbotsford Police who directed him to report the incident to the Fraser Valley Regional District’s (FVRD) Animal Control.
FVRD spokesperson Jennifer Kinneman confirmed Animal Control officers are investigating the incident. She said they have been patrolling the Babich Park area and trying to identify the dog and owner and whether the rottweiler has been involved in any other incidents in the past.
She said that the investigation could potentially result in restrictions put on the rottweiler such as a muzzle being required when in public and an enclosure on its property.
Valhalteren said he hopes the dog is at the very least muzzled and leashed in the future.
“I wouldn’t want someone else to have to go through losing an animal or something like that. Obviously this dog is aggressive,” he said “I have a 14-month-old daughter and if I was walking up there with my daughter it would have been a different story. That dog probably would have killed her.”
Briana said she would like to see Animal Control go further.
“If you have an animal, you need to care care of them properly. I just want him [the rottweiler owner] to know that it’s not a joke … these [dogs] are like our other children so if he can’t control that animal, then that animal shouldn’t be with him. It needs to be with someone who either can control it better or maybe the animal shouldn’t be in a home, if it’s that aggressive.”
She said her family would have been devastated if Maggie died, especially her 14-month-old daughter.
“She’s obsessed with the dogs and they love her too,” Briana said. “They all sleep together sometimes.”