There was swift justice for a Kamloops senior this week as the Rottweiler that attacked her was put down.
But questions remain about how this happened — again — since the same dog chewed up a postal carrier in June.
After Sunday’s attack, 84-year-old Mary Gural needed 98 stitches to close the wounds covering wrist to elbow.
She and her husband made a last-minute decision to stop at McDonald’s, ironically while en route to an SPCA book sale. Her gut told her all she needed to know; she didn’t like the look of the dog and tried to avoid “Midnight” while they walked through the parking lot.
The huge animal knocked her down and she figures would have torn up her face had she not sacrificed her arm — with numb fingers, she fears she suffered nerve damage.
What if she had been more frail, alone, hurt in the fall and unable to defend herself, in an isolated place, was pregnant or a child? The unprovoked attack could have proved fatal.
The postie in the June incident also suffered deep puncture wounds to his arm. His wife told The Daily News they were assured by the City the animal would be penned up and there were other conditions for the owner to comply with.
Which is why hearing about the second attack was all the more upsetting to them — why was a dog already labeled as aggressive loose in public without a muzzle?
The owner agreed to put Midnight down and the City is considering penalties, including fines up to $5,000, for him not complying with the conditions set after the first attack.
This follow-through is good but the question emerges: what steps were taken by bylaws officials between the two attacks?
What was done since the June incident to ensure the conditions laid out — having the dog licensed ($200 for a dangerous animal), microchipped, kept in a kennel while in the yard and muzzled when out of it — were being adhered to?
City bylaws supervisor John Ramsey said a yearly check is done to see if dangerous dog owners have liability insurance and, if not, the City can impound the animal.
In a case like Midnight’s, he says they would probably have followed up in a couple months, but there was such a short time frame between the attacks and they’d been told the dog was leaving the city, so nothing was done.
There are 16 dogs that have been designated as dangerous in the City, meaning they have attacked another animal or person at least once. That’s a lot of potential for more problems, if this case offers any kind of cautionary tale.
There should be a more rigid schedule of checkups by City staff for newly designated dangerous dogs, as well as random checks beyond the once-a-year that is done on the other ones, too.
Taxpayers might not be thrilled with more of their taxes being spent on babysitting a few bad dogs (and owners) but in issues of public safety, money can be no object.
As for whether a ban on certain breeds would help, with so much interbreeding going on nowadays, it seems punitive to single out only a few. Any large dog can turn and depending on training, be vicious.