B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

Young Rottweiler pup couldn’t breathe after another dog caught tooth on his collar

What started out as a fun trip to Kamloops to give their young dog some social experience with other canines, ended up turning into “a traumatic experience and a trip to the hospital” for a Louis Creek couple.

Debra and Dan Brooks stopped by the Star/Journal office last week to share their experience in the hope that what happened to them “can be avoided for other dog owners by getting the word out”.

The Brooks retired to this area from Maple Ridge some two months ago and say they are really enjoying their new home and community. Everything seemed to be going just fine, and they especially have been enjoying their young Rottweiler pup, Ava, who has just turned eight months old. In an effort to give Ava every chance to become well socialized with other dogs they have been taking her to an off leash dog park in Kamloops on a regular basis.

Last week they made the trip in again, and were happy to find Ava a large white German Shepherd/ Maremma cross dog called Jack to play with at the park.

“Everything was going fine,” said Debra.

“The two dogs were have a wonderful time playing together off leash while we talked with Jack’s owner.”

She noted that they have always used a quick release collar on their dog which was what Ava was wearing on this day. Jack was wearing a chain collar or ‘choke chain’ as some call it.

“We were just talking and then we heard one of the dogs yelp,” said Debra, “We thought someone had just got a little too rough and looked over to see how they were. Then we realized that something was wrong as they seemed to have their collars caught or something.”

Dan tells that the couple ran over to the dogs and unclipped the quick release collar on Ava, but then realized that the problem was a lot more serious than that.

“Somehow, as they had been playing, Ava had gotten her bottom jaw under the chock chain on Jack’s neck and it was hooked behind her canines,” said Dan, “It looked like when this had happened she had done a couple of crocodile rolls to try and get loose and that just made the problem worse.”

Dan said Jack was in difficulty because he was having his airway constricted by the other dog being tangled in the chain and trying to get loose.

“I got hold of the dog and tried to twist the chain around so they could get free but Ava was digging in and trying to get away, and Jack was starting to fight for his life as he realized his lights were going out,” told Dan.

“I got my hands into the chain to try and give Jack some room to breath but by that time he was trying to bite his way free from the chain. He wasn’t biting me specifically, he was just trying to bite his way free from what had him. My hand took a lot of punishment while I was trying to help him.”

Dan said at that point he realized Jack was going to suffocate if they didn’t get him free “fast”, so he told Debra to find someone with bolt cutters or wire cutters.

“I ran over to the parking lot as fast as I could go,” said Debra.

“I could see a public works truck for the city just pulling out of the parking lot and I flagged him down and quickly told him what we needed, but he said he had never used that truck before and had no idea where anything was or if it had bolt cutters.”

She then ran over to a BC Hydro truck, but was told he did not have what she needed.

Meanwhile Dan says by this time Jack had stopped fight the collar and was starting to go limp.

“I thought he was going to die right there and we couldn’t do anything to help,” said Dan.

“I thought the only thing I can do is try to flip AVA (the smaller of the two dogs) over to get the twists out of the collar.”

It wasn’t easy holding on to Jack and trying get a grip on Ava to flip her over enough times to take the tension out of the collar.

“I didn’t think I could do it, but just as Debra and the public works guy ran over with a pair of bolt cutters I was successful in flipping our dog and we were able to get her jaw out of the collar and free Jack.”

“We thought he was dying,” tells Debra.

“He just laid there on the grass on his side for a long time, and then he very slowly staggered to his feet.”

The couple say they were ecstatic to see Jack finally be able to walk away with his owner, hoping he would take the dog to a vet to be checked out. Then it was time to get Dan to the hospital as he had severe bite wounds to his hand and all of his fingers.

“I was bleeding everywhere by this time,” said Dan, who first made sure that Ava had come through the experience in one piece, except for a scrape on her nose.

“It is a good job that she has a strong jaw being the breed that she is, or she could have ended up with a broken jaw.”

Then it was off to Royal Inland for repair to Dan’s hand that had taken multiple bites, and to be given a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics.

“We were treated really well at the hospital,” said Dan. “We can’t say enough about what they did for us.”

There is a warning in this story for other pet owners, and the Brooks very much want to get that message out there.

“We want to encourage dog owners to use quick release collars, and to not turn your dog loose with a chain collar, or a collar that fits loosely,” said Dan.

“We want to prevent any other dog owner from having the experience that we had,” said Debra, “It was horrifying. I never ever would have thought of this happening. It has been very traumatic for us, if Dan hadn’t done what he did I think Jack would have been dead. Jack had blood all over him but it was Dan’s blood.”

“We are so happy that the situation turned out the way it did,” said Dan.

“It could have gone sideways really fast.”

Both hope that this article will help others and they will be encouraging off leash dog parks to post signage warning pet owners about not using a quick release collar on a loose dog.

“I wish we had got a contact number from Jack’s owner,” said Dan, “I would really like to know that Jack is okay.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

Registered nurse Sammy Mullally displayed a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., in 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Councillors call on Saanich to address overdose crisis, explore options for safe consumption sites

‘There’s no vaccine for this problem,’ new action is needed, councillors say

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read