A Saskatoon woman urges owners to keep their dogs under control in unleashed parks after her terrier mix was brutally attacked and killed earlier this week.
“It was terrible. He’s my best friend. We do everything together, he’s come with me everywhere and I just feel so bad that I couldn’t protect him,” said Blossom de Bruin.
De Bruin, who is in the final year of her veterinary school at the University of Saskatchewan, took her 12-year-old dog, Jax, to the Sutherland Beach Off-leash Dog Park just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday – a place they would walking three to four times a week.
She said two large dogs ran up to Jax and attacked him, one of them lifting him by the stomach.
“When the dog still had it in its mouth, I saw entrails and just screamed. I just lost it. I couldn’t believe how my dog was gutted practically right in front of my eyes. “
De Bruin said she tried to pull the dogs away from Jax with the help of the people around her, but she didn’t succeed quickly enough.
She said the owner of the two dogs that attacked Jax wasn’t around at the time and didn’t seem to be aware of what was happening.
The incident is being investigated by the city’s animal welfare agency.
“It’s just instinct. It happened so quickly. I definitely wasn’t thinking of getting hurt, I just wanted them to let go of him. Dogs have a really strong bite, so if they don’t want to let go they won’t, ”de Bruin told CTV News.
De Bruin said she immediately rushed Jax to the emergency clinic at WCVM Veterinary Medical Center, where he had to be taken for surgery and had a 50 percent chance of survival.
It found his injuries were more severe and he suffered cardiac arrest on the operating table and died shortly after – about three hours after the attack.
“I was horrified to hear that it was looking this bad and much worse. They tore it up, ”said de Bruin.
While nothing can bring Jax back, de Bruin hopes her experience will lead owners to take control of their dogs and take precautions if their dog is prone to aggression.
“I would never want anyone else to see what I had to see and go through that. I don’t blame the dogs, I don’t blame the breed. I think dog behavior has a lot more to do with training than genetics, and I want the owner to take responsibility, ”she said.
“It is unacceptable for you to take your dog for a walk, which is good for him, and for him to end up being killed. As if I feel totally terrible. I wish I had never stepped into a dog park. “
De Bruin said other dogs, including her roommate’s, were also attacked by the same dogs.
Saskatoon Police and Saskatoon Animal Welfare Services were called to the dog park shortly after the attack.
The Animal Control Agency is now investigating and will ensure those responsible are held accountable, a Saskatoon city statement said.
“Dog parks can be a great place to get exercise and socialize. However, we recommend all pet owners ensure their dogs are ready for the off-leash experience. This means making sure they behave well when interacting with people and pets, and that they know and obey the basic “come,” “sit,” and “stay” commands before visiting a dog park, “the city said.
De Bruin said she hopes Animal Control will bring charges of dangerous animals and prevent these dogs from being returned to unleashed parks
The sign at the dog park where Jax was attacked indicates that the owners control their dogs and keep them in sight and wear a leash at all times.
However, Meghan Oesch, certified dog trainer and owner of Crazy Tails, said that all dog owners need to be prepared for anything when visiting a dog park.
“Anyone can take their dog to a dog park, right? It doesn’t matter if your dog has bitten someone or maybe is aggressive towards another dog, you can still take them with you. There is just no telling what you will come across, ”she said.
“Unfortunately, many of the signs that a dog is not suitable for a dog park are overlooked by most pet owners, and if those signs are overlooked, you’re only setting your dog up for a disaster.”
Oesch said that while a foundation of obedience is key, it ultimately comes down to the owners.
“The owners have to be careful. You only need 30 seconds to check your phone, check text messages, e-mails or the like while you leave for something to happen. “
For de Bruin, she not only lost a pet, but also her best friend.
“I got Jax in 2013 in the middle of my worst year with some very difficult mental health issues and he’s most of my emotional stability and he’s worthless but he’s worth the world to me.”