Dog attack unleashes concerns over safety

Dog that bit gardener in Broadmead had been previously investigated by Saanich Pound

Professional gardener Denis Canuel sits in the very place a dog attacked him while he was working on Shadywood Drive in Broadmead on Saturday. Canuel shows his jeans that were ripped during the attack.

The victim of a dog attack in Broadmead believes Saanich Pound is not doing enough to protect the public from a repeat offender.

Denis Canuel, a professional gardener, was attending to a property on Shadywood Drive on Saturday when a pedestrian engaged him in conversation regarding Canuel’s work. A few seconds later, that same pedestrian was about 50 feet away when his dog, a medium-sized terrier, bolted for Canuel and attacked him unprovoked.

“It came at me full speed, the owner failed to control the dog,” Canuel said. “It tore open my [denim] pants, and I was very lucky it bit me on the bone, it nearly bit off flesh. It was a brutal, vicious attack, a rip and tear.”

Despite having had a cordial conversation with the owner just prior to the attack, the owner did not attempt to call the dog off, Canuel said. Not only that, Canuel had to yell at the owner and order him to remove the dog, he added, which was wearing a leash.

Canuel wrote a letter to Saanich asking for the dog to be destroyed. If it’s at least not removed, he says he’ll pursue civil action.

Saanich Pound confirmed it had previously investigated the dog for an attack, and applied a $250 fine and a violation ticket for “aggressive dog running at large,” said Saanich Police acting Sgt. Jereme Leslie.

From now on, the dog will have to wear a muzzle when not on its own property. Details of the dog’s previous incident are unclear but it happened on its own property. At that time, Saanich Pound deemed the dog aggressive and ordered it be tied up whether on its own property or in public.

As a gardener, Canuel has experience dealing with dogs and said there was nothing to suggest the dog was going to attack. The owner apologized but his offer to purchase Canuel a new pair of jeans was not enough, Canuel said.

“I’m often crouched down when I work, I can’t be on the lookout for a crazy dog,” Canuel said. “If that dog attacked a child or an elderly person, it could be life threatening, it could disable a child for life and leave scars.”

Karen De Tomasso is the owner of the property on which Canuel was attacked. She wasn’t home at the time, but is deeply concerned that it happened on private property, the same place her grandchildren visit.

“If it was on public property I wouldn’t have much say but this is my safe haven,” Di Tomasso said. “A dog can have a mishap but that is not the concern with this dog, it’s drawn blood.”

Di Tomasso believes the dog should be considered dangerous, which would have greater implications, such as euthanization.

“The question is, how many people are bitten before Saanich does the job it needs to do, five attacks, more?” Canuel asked. “It’s important for the public to know you can buy a dog and let it bite more than two people, and still have that dog.”


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