The owner of two unlicensed pit bulls was fined by the City of Richmond after the dogs attacked two horses in McDonald Park.
The City of Richmond reminds residents that pit bulls are dangerous dogs and owners must keep these dogs muzzled and on-leash at all times when in public.
A Richmond resident, who prefers not to give her name due to safety concerns, told the Richmond News she and her daughter were horse riding along the dyke trail – an on-leash areain – in the park on Sept. 23 when their horses passed two “unleashed, unmuzzled, collared, adult dogs of pit bull type.”
The horses, who are “very experienced with dogs” according to their owners, stopped when the two dogs came close, barking and circling.
“My daughter’s horse moved her feet in place and it was like a trigger for the grey dog to attack,” recalled the horse owner.
“The dog kept returning to attack, while the second dog continued barking and getting in the way…The owner was clearly physically incapable of catching or holding onto this big dog.”
Due to a fear of falling off, the daughter jumped off her horse, which then ran off with dogs following her. The dogs returned minutes after and were leashed by the woman walking them.
The horse that ran off made it safely to its barn and had six bites from the attack – four requiring stitches and “a deep abdominal bite, piercing the muscle needing placement of a (surgical) drain,” said the horse owner.
The other horse had two bites, one “with the flesh shaken loose from its underlying muscle creating a large pocket which also required a (surgical) drain.”
The horse owner said she is concerned by the “unprovoked and persistent nature” of the attack and its potential to repeat.
“I feel this attack could have been worse, with human injury a strong possibility,” she said.
“Its [the dog’s] calmness on returning seemed almost like it found the experience a game.”
The horse owner said she phoned the woman’s son, the dog owner, who “aggressively” denied responsibility and refused to pay for the vet bills.
“He said he would muzzle me before muzzling his dogs,” said the horse owner.
“I am concerned about this dog owner’s attitude, in that he did not take responsibility for his pets’ behaviour nor did he agree to ameliorate future risk.”
The City of Richmond said it is aware of the incident and has issued the dog owner tickets totalling $1,200.
“Horses are allowed on this trail…these dogs were unlicensed and were running off-leash in an on-leash area,” said Ted Townsend, spokesperson for the city.
“Having confirmed that the two dogs involved are pit bulls, we have informed the owner of the City of Richmond bylaw requirement that they are to be muzzled and leashed at all times when in public.”
Richmond bylaws classify pit bulls as dangerous dogs and owners are responsible to keep them muzzled and on-leash at all times, including in designated off-leash areas.
Townsend said he would also like to remind dog owners to keep their dogs on leash unless in a designated off-leash area.
The horse owner has also contacted Richmond RCMP and was told that, in terms of determining if an animal is a danger or not, that falls into the jurisdiction of Richmond Bylaws and Richmond Animal Protection Services (RAPS).