Bruce Eddy took his golden retriever Jasmine, and a young puppy, for a walk in his Hillside Drive neighborhood early on the evening of Oct. 6, and his dogs were attacked by three pit bulls that raced out of a nearby yard.
Seven-year-old Jasmine was bitten twice by the biggest pit bull and later treated by a veterinarian and died two weeks later from injuries suffered in the attack, Eddy said.
The pup ran away and escaped unharmed, but Eddy and his wife Pamela haven't been the same since.
Much of their time during the past seven weeks has been spent trying to get authorities to track down the woman that owned the pit bulls, and getting her dogs out of the community so something worse doesn't happen.
“Before some innocent child has to witness their animal attacked or another death, or a kid being attacked,” Pam said.
Despite their persistent efforts, Pam and Bruce say they've been frustrated and feel most local authorities have blown them off.
“There's a lot of red tape and it's been over a month. It shouldn't take that long to go and retrieve those dogs,” Pam told The Sault Star.
“If it was a child bite, the dogs would have been picked up immediately.”
Quebec municipalities pondered banning pit bulls earlier this year after a 55-year-old Montreal woman was mauled in June by a pit bull in the backyard of her home and died, Canadian Press reported.
Ontario imposed a ban on the dogs more than a decade ago. The province banned pit bull ownership in 2005. The ban made it mandatory for all pit bulls in the province to be spayed or neutered, leashed and muzzled in public, CP reported. The ultimate goal was to remove pit bulls from the province altogether by preventing them from breeding, and to keep new pit bulls out of Ontario.
Pam said the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society knew for almost a year that the three dogs that attacked her dogs were a problem.
A pet control officer told Bruce on the night Jasmine was attacked that the humane society had been trying for nearly one year to track down the woman who owned the dogs, but was unable to find her because she “moved around a lot and hides herself and the dogs,” Bruce said.
“She (the officer) said they can't find her to serve her papers,” he said.
“(She) said, 'We knew it (the problem) would surface again.' Well, why didn't they have all this paperwork in order a year ago so then when I told them our dog was bit, they could have seized them (the pit bulls) that night,” said Pam, who is not at all satisfied with how things have been handled.
The Eddys have contacted the humane society many times since the incident to find out what was being done to secure the dogs.
“I'm disgusted,” Pam said.
“They say they're doing their job, but they're not. It's telling somebody what they want to hear and not what's really going on,” Bruce added.
Calls Thursday and Friday to Cindy Ross, manager at the SSM Humane Society, were not returned to The Sault Star.
Eddy said he was walking his dogs only a few houses away from his home at about 7 p.m. on Oct. 6.
Jasmine was on the main leash and the smaller puppy was on a secondary leash that was attached to main tether when the three pit bulls, which he hadn't seen before in the neighborhood, came roaring out of a driveway after his dogs.
He turned to protect the pup, but she got off the leash and took off running.
“She broke loose and ran and two of the pit bulls tried to chase her halfway home, which was only about four or five houses,” he said.
“I turned around and the big pit bull, which is named Princess I found out after, had my golden retriever pinned on the road and had her teeth sunk into her neck.”
As he tried to pull the pit bull off Jasmine, a woman came running out of the nearby driveway, “yelling and screaming at her dogs to get off mine.”
He yanked Princess off his dog and had a hold of the canine when the woman grabbed her dog out of his hands.
Then I turned around and saw my dog laying on the ground with blood and fur “all over the place,” he said.
The owner of the pit bull took hold of Princess's collar, called her other two dogs and she and the three animals disappeared into the yard they came from, while Eddy took his dog into his house.
He told his wife what happened and asked her to call city police.
“They said they didn't act on dog incidents,” he said, but they would pass his information on to the humane society.
A few hours later a pet control officer showed up at the Eddy home. Meanwhile, Pam went to the neighbour's house where the dogs had been to find out they were gone, and so was the woman who owned them.
The home owner told Pam who the woman was that owned the dogs.
“They weren't my dogs ... I found out all I could about them,” said the homeowner, who did not want to be named.
He said the woman was an acquaintance who called him a few weeks earlier saying she had no food for her dogs and no place to stay.
The neighbor, who is allergic to dogs, agreed to let her and the dogs stay in a trailer outside his home for the night.
“She went into the trailer and two weeks later she was still in the trailer,” said the neighbor. “She wouldn't leave.”
He went to city police in an effort to get the woman off his property, but when he was later in his driveway with the woman and her dogs in his car, she opened the back door and the dogs ran out after Eddy, who just happened to be passing by while walking his dogs.
“Her dog, I guess the female is the bad bitch, she just lunged across there. I turned around and the dogs were gone and they were on this guy's dog and they ended up killing it,” the neighbor said.
Eddy contacted police several times since the attack and says he's also been to the police services building about his dog.
“They've been no help at all,” he said.
Deputy police chief Sean Sparling said he spoke with Eddy, but refused to comment on the issue.
“I'm aware of it but we can't really provide much comment because it's an active matter,” he said. “A dog incident such as that would be normally investigated by the humane society, not us.”
A call by Eddy to city hall eventually put him in touch with city solicitor Jeffrey King, who spoke with the Crown Attorney's office.
An assistant Crown contacted Eddy to say they intended to charge the woman who owned the dogs, but that was three weeks ago.
Eddy lauded King's efforts. “He's been trying hard.”
King did not return calls Thursday or Friday.
Pam said she knows who the woman is that owned the pit bulls. She said the woman had a pit bull for sale on Facebook, but as of Friday the dog was no longer available.
She believes the animal has been sold.
(Sault Star - Nov 25, 2016)