Pooch panic in the park

Melee involving a pit bull terrier shakes up park goers

A concerned Castlegar resident is one of a handful of people who were present during a dangerous and traumatic incident at Millennium Park on May 19.

Events described in a letter to the Castlegar News were basically confirmed later by Castlegar RCMP Corporal Debbie Postnikoff.

The episode relates to an attack by a pit bull terrier on a lab cross dog being walked by three youngsters aged five to 13. It drives home the point that dog behaviour is often unpredictable, and that the City of Castlegar has a bylaw requiring that pit bulls be muzzled when in public. Painful injuries were suffered during a violent interlude in an otherwise placid scene.

A leashed pit bull apparently bolted from it’s handler, attacking the lab-type dog and fixing its bite on a front paw. A couple of adults on the scene tried unsuccessfully to separate the dogs before 911 was called. Police arrived at the scene shortly before the pit bull ‘released’ and was secured in a vehicle.

The young teenager walking the lab had received a bite to the leg during the melee. Another person was bitten on the hand although it was not clear which dog(s) had inflicted which bites.

Corporal Postnikoff said an official report on the incident had not been released.

“We didn’t put a release out because of the conflicting stories,” said the Corporal on May 26.

“Animal protection got involved and they did issue a ticket to the pit bull owner, it’s a municipal bylaw, for $150. This dog is from out in the Valley so they wouldn’t have known to muzzle pit bulls while you’re in the Castlegar area.”

The letter writer, Chris Talbot, pointed to the ease with which the pit bull had broken free from it’s caretaker, suggestion a revised bylaw requiring dogs over a certain weight, maybe 40 pounds, to be subject to muzzling.