Thursday, February 16, 2017

Australia: Toy poodle nearly mauled to death by pit bulls in Gungahlin

AUSTRALIA -- The owner of a toy poodle savaged by two pit bulls says stricter laws could have prevented the attack.

Briana Grame's poodle Elsa was mauled on Sunday afternoon in a near-fatal attack on Horse Park Drive in Gungahlin.

The dogs, which Ms Grame believed to be pit bulls, were leashed but not muzzled when they escaped their owner's grasp and set upon the poodle.

"We had our backs turned when one of the dogs bolted over to Elsa," the 19-year-old said.

"It had snapped its collar to get to her. The owner tried to control it but accidentally let go of the other dog, which started attacking Elsa as well."

One of the dogs tore at the poodle's stomach while the other attacked its head.

"I was screaming. They were killing her," Ms Grame said.

"Those dogs weren't going to stop for anyone. We couldn't get them off."

Ms Grame's boyfriend Rhys Balcomb managed to wrestle Elsa away just as her abdomen was ripped open.

"He scooped her up and bolted for home. We could see her ribs and she was bleeding everywhere," Ms Grame said. 

The poodle was rushed to the Gungahlin Veterinary Hospital where she was patched up in a lengthy operation.

"They called us at one point to say her injuries were worse than anticipated," Ms Grame said.

"They found puncture wounds in her chest. Waiting for the vets to give her the all-clear was the longest three hours of my life."

Ms Grame said she believed the pit bulls were still being walked in the area and she was now terrified of walking Elsa on her own.

"The owner hasn't come forward since the attack. I don't feel safe walking my dog in the neighbourhood at the moment."

While there were no easy solutions, Ms Grame called on the ACT government to consider laws that could prevent future attacks.

"I just keep thinking about how different it would have been if these dogs were required to wear muzzles," she said.

Other options might include tighter regulation of dangerous breeds and tougher penalties for those who did not obey existing rules, she said.

In its latest annual report, Transport Canberra and City Services revealed it had investigated 360 attacks in the past year and seized 124 dogs.

Despite the significant number of incidents, just twelve dogs were classified as "dangerous" in 2016.

Opposition urban services spokesman Steve Doszpot has previously said current laws needed to be reviewed.

"The Canberra Liberals support an examination of the effectiveness of the legislation but we are also concerned about how the current legislation is being enforced," Mr Doszpot said.

Transport Canberra and City Services said they were investigating the attack but were unable to comment further.

A gofundme page has been started to help raise the $5,000 needed to cover Elsa's vet bills. 

(The Canberra Times - Feb 16, 2017)