SPCA urges caution after South Surrey dog attack
By Tracy Holmes - Peace Arch News - June 20, 2008 | | | |
Judy Evans holds a photograph of her dog, Tasha, which was euthanized after it was attacked by three dogs Thursday.
Chung Chow photo
Police, Surrey bylaw and SPCA officials are investigating a horrific dog attack that left an aging Bishon Frise broken and battered Thursday.
Tasha’s owners, Wayne and Judy Evans, say they’re determined the owner will be held accountable.
“We’re not going to let this rest,” Wayne Evans said, just hours after a vet euthanized his pet of 10 years. “I’ll be looking for that (licence plate number).”
And, BC SPCA’s Lorie Chortyk is advising caution, noting neither the three pit bulls believed to be involved nor their owner have been located.
“It’s very, very serious,” Chortyk said Friday. “We don’t know where they are; we don’t where he is.”
The attack happened between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Thursday, while Judy Evans was out with Tasha on their daily walk. The pair were approaching their turnaround point – near an overgrown lot on 160 Street at 20 Avenue – when Evans noticed a man waiting across the street by a dark-coloured vehicle.
She thought it was odd, but didn’t think more of it until the man turned and started yelling at her to pick Tasha up. She couldn’t see any reason why he would want her to, but reached for Tasha nonetheless.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t fast enough.
“I caught the face of this dog coming towards me. I couldn’t pick her up before this dog got there. And two more (followed),” Evans said.
Evans said the man did try to call off the dogs, including getting physically into the fray, but to no avail.
“He couldn’t get the dogs off. They pretty much tore her up.”
He didn’t wait around to see if everyone was OK, she said. Evans’ fingers were bitten trying to pull Tasha from the dogs’ attack; she was knocked over in the struggle.
One witness described the attack as “one of the most horrific scenes I have ever come across..
“I was afraid to get out of my car fearing that some of the dogs might turn on me,” Jennifer Venema told the Peace Arch News.
Venema said she told the man he needed to wait for police. However, “he drove away.”
Another couple driving by took Evans and Tasha to White Rock Veterinary Hospital, where the dog was operated on for multiple injuries, including six broken ribs, a punctured lung and torn hind quarter. Tasha was transferred to a Langley vet for overnight emergency care; the Evans had her euthanized Friday.
“Her quality of life was gone,” Wayne Evans said. “We had to make a decision and it wasn’t easy. But I think it’s better for her.”
Chortyk said the SPCA is working with the RCMP on behalf of the city to locate the dogs and owner. She said a licence plate noted at the scene has been traced to a man whose pitbulls were reportedly involved in an attack in Victoria; the same plate was also linked to a less-serious incident April 4 in Surrey.
“On April 4, there was an attack in Surrey with four pitbulls attacking some Pomeranians,” Chortyk said. “We traced the plate and it turned up as this fellow.”
Chortyk said the SPCA has been trying unsuccessfully to locate the individual since the April 4 incident. She added the RCMP has advised them not to approach the man, but to contact police once he is found.
Chortyk said it is the SPCA’s role to take dogs involved in such incidents into custody, as per Surrey’s dangerous animals bylaw. It is up to the city to decide if euthanization is in the community’s best interest, or if restrictions such as muzzling are more in order.
The SPCA is looking into whether recommending a criminal-negligence charge is appropriate in Thursday’s incident.
They must first locate the man and dogs, prove they were involved and prove the owner knew his dogs posed a danger.
“If we can prove... he had previous knowledge his dogs were dangerous and did nothing, there actually can be criminal charges laid,” Chortyk said.
Evans’ daughter Deanne described the dog owner’s actions as “cowardly.”
“People need to take ownership and responsibility for their pets,” Deanne Evans said. “If it was my dog that did this, she wouldn’t be standing here. She’s my life – but she’d be put down in a heartbeat.”
Anyone with information on the incident or the dogs’ whereabouts is asked to call police at 604-599-0502