Friday, December 16, 2016

Canada: 10-year-old girl attacked by dog while waiting for school bus; Animal control says it's no big deal

CANADA -- Waiting for the school bus shouldn't be a scary ordeal, but after being attacked by a neighbour's dog on Thursday morning, Demitra Ellison is nervous about it.

The 10-year-old girl was waiting with four other children outside her family's home on Alex Taylor Drive in Transcona shortly after 8 a.m. when a dog began circling around the kids and attacked Demitra.

"It ran over to me and pushed me down and then it was biting my hand and it was trying to bite my foot but my boots were keeping it protected," said Demitra.

The dog had quickly pinned the girl on the ground. She now has multiple bite marks on her hand, scratches on her face, bruises on her arms and a scrape inside her mouth from the dog's paw.

"I was just really scared," said Demitra.

The Grade 5 student was already afraid of dogs before the attack, so when she first saw the dog she went inside to ask her babysitter to come outside with her.

Children tried to help

Cherie Bell, the family's babysitter of nine years, was inside with a younger child and came out to help. She described the dog as medium to large and thinks it may be a boxer or bull terrier. Bell was walking towards the bus stop when the dog attacked  Demitra. She said the other children immediately jumped into action.

"The other school students were pulling the dog off of her and when the bus came they were able to pull him off of her and she got up and ran to the bus," said Bell.

Bell called Demitra's mother, Erin Ellison, who said she was terrified when she heard about the attack and rushed home from work. She said she quickly came to the conclusion that the cold weather ended up shielding her daughter from even more severe injuries.

Heavy winter clothing helped

One of the first things Demitra said to her mom was, "What if I was wearing my tights?"

"That was really scary, you could imagine when you have snow pants and these thicker boots, like with a pair of tights, sandals or something it could have been a pretty bad situation," said Ellison.

Demitra's heavy winter boots have multiple tears and puncture marks. Looking over them, Ellison breathed a sigh of relief, and said that things would have been much worse in warmer weather. While she is relieved her daughter is going to be OK she wants people to monitor their dogs more closely so things like this don't happen.

Nevertheless, Ellison took her daughter to the hospital to have her checked out and her injuries cleaned.

"We just need to know that's not going to happen again."

City calls it a 'minor attack'

The city's Animal Services said in an email it has patrolled the area but no stray dogs were found.

"Based on a witness observation, Animal Services believes the dog is not at large, and at home, and that it was a minor attack," the email reads. It also reminds pet owners that they are responsible for the actions of their animals at all times.

Ellison said that she hasn't had any problems with the dog before but that other people in the neighborhood have told her today's attack wasn't the first incident with the animal.

"I'm really concerned that maybe something should happen to the dog if this has been an ongoing issue like we've heard about. Then maybe the dog needs to be put down if it's going to be a safety hazard for everybody," she said.

For now Ellison is worried about how traumatized Demitra is after the attack, and how she will feel waiting outside for the bus on Friday morning. She also said she is grateful for how quickly the girl's schoolmates tried to help, and for the support from the school bus driver and the school division.

( - Dec 16, 2016)

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