An 84-year-old Kamloops woman is nursing a left arm that needed 98 stitches to close up bites from wrist to elbow and the Rottweiler that attacked her is in the City pound as police and bylaws staff complete their investigation.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said Tuesday a 27-year-old friend of the dog’s owner was looking after the female Rottweiler. He had left her outside the McDonald’s on Fortune Drive Sunday afternoon when he went in to get something to eat.
That’s when Mary and Jim Gural happened to leave the restaurant. They were heading to Northills Mall to browse the pickings at the SPCA’s book sale.
As they walked through the parking lot, Mary Gural saw the dog.
“I said to my husband, ‘I don’t like the looks of that dog.’ We walked around him. Next thing I knew, (she) was flying at me,” she recalled Tuesday.
Gural didn’t want to give her age, but police said she is 84. Other than her thickly bandaged arm, which is turning blue and purple, she appeared healthy and strong. Husband Jim uses a walker, an aid he has needed since breaking his hip last winter.
Mary Gural said the attack happened so fast, she has little recollection. She estimated the dog weighed about 50 kilograms. It knocked her to the ground so she banged her head while the dog’s teeth tore into her arm.
“Luckily, I put my arm up. Otherwise, (she) would have had my face,” she said, seated in her living room Tuesday afternoon.
She was thankful for the crowd of people who quickly gathered and got the dog off her. A McDonald’s employee looked after her wound until paramedics came.
She was rushed to RIH, where she spent four hours getting the bone-deep bites repaired. Gural said her tendons were missed, but she’s worried about nerve damage because her fingers are still numb.
The plastic surgeon who stitched her up told her he’d never seen anything like it.
“It happened so fast, I don’t think I felt the pain when it was biting me,” she said.
“It’s just horrible. It’s starting to hit me now.”
Learned said this is the dog’s second recorded attack. On June 1, the Rottweiler was reported to have bitten a postal carrier at her owner’s home.
Fines under the City’s animal-control bylaw are expected, and the dog may be euthanized at the end of the investigation. Bylaws officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Postal carrier Ken Leblanc was the victim of the June 1 attack. His wife, Patricia Nauss, also a carrier, said her husband’s left arm had bone-deep puncture wounds from wrist to elbow, as well as scrape marks from the dog’s teeth.
“They promised us the dog would be kept in a special cage,” she said.
Leblanc was delivering to a townhouse complex on Fortune Drive, not his regular route but on overtime.
He came around the corner, Nauss said, and the dog was sitting there, so he asked the dog owner’s girlfriend if the dog was secure. She said yes.
As Leblanc was turning around to leave, the dog attacked him, Nauss said.
‘”The dog shredded from his elbow to his wrist on his left arm,” she said.
“We talked to the City and we demanded something be done. They told us the dog was deemed dangerous and was supposed to be penned up.”
So the fact the dog was able to be loose, in a mall parking lot where anyone could be walking past, was disturbing to Nauss.
“As carriers, we’ve been bitten all the time. We find a lot of the time, nothing’s done. This dog shouldn’t have been out without a muzzle,” said Nauss, adding she and her husband have dogs themselves.
“We were told the dog wouldn’t be released back to the owner unless he had a special pen and other conditions,” she added.
“My concern is the dog is still out there.”
Gural said she and her husband didn’t want to see the dog killed, but when she learned the Rottweiler has attacked twice within a few months, she had mixed feelings.
“We hate to see any animals put down,” she said. “We had dogs. I like dogs. But those dogs — pitbulls and Rottweilers — I stay away from them. I walk around them.”
She faulted the man who had the dog for not tying it up securely on Sunday, and for having a dog that has bitten people in a public place. She was concerned children could have been walking past and been attacked.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “I thought about it this morning. What happened? (She) was right on me.”