A life-long Whitehorse resident is sharing her account of a “devastating” dog attack, which is making waves locally on social media.
The incident allegedly occurred on July 23 in Riverdale and involved a large dog biting and shaking a smaller dog. The attack left the smaller pet with several injuries and the victim’s owner with a substantial vet bill.
According to dog owner Sharon Young, a large Anatolian Shepherd dog and its owner approached her and her nearly 10-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cinnabun, at around 3:50 p.m. near the bowling alley in Riverdale.
Young says that the big dog and its owner initially approached her and Cinnabun unaggressively. However, the situation quickly escalated.
“I turn around, and I see this giant dog on top of my dog, and at that moment, the owner had flat-out open-palm released the leash. He let it go — I kid you not,” Young says.
“My dog immediately dropped to her belly because I think she knew what was going to happen. And this dog picked her up, threw her, grabbed her rib area and started shaking her violently, and this happened three to four times.”
Young tells the News that, at this point during the attack, she was screaming and that she kicked the attacking dog twice before it released Cinnabun. She also claims the dog tried biting her foot during the altercation.
Following the attack, Young says she confronted the other dog owner, who was dismissive of the encounter and denied that his pet had done anything wrong.
Cinnabun was taken to a veterinary clinic, where she was assessed to have a puncture wound, bruised lungs and two rib fractures, according to vet records seen by the News. Young says her vet bills totalled $900 over two visits.
Young called the RCMP in the wake of the attack but was redirected to a bylaw officer.
The staffer at Whitehorse’s bylaw department that Young spoke with assured her that “he was taking steps.”
In a statement provided to the News, Whitehorse’s strategic communications manager, Oshea Jephson, said that Whitehorse Bylaw Services “has responded to a complaint it received over the weekend, which has been the subject of recent social media attention, and this incident is under investigation.”
Jephson further noted that he could not comment on an active investigation and that members of the public with additional information are encouraged to contact the city’s bylaw department.
Dawson Beaulieu, another life-long Whitehorse resident, says he had a similar encounter with the same dog and its owner in late October 2020. He tells the News that the aforementioned dog attacked his Australian Shepherd, Sam, at the Canine Bluffs Off Leash Park in downtown Whitehorse.
Beaulieu says he was initially weary of the Anatolian Shepherd when it arrived at the dog park, but was told by the dog’s owner that his pet was friendly. Reassured, Beaulieu allowed Sam to play with the other dog, although things quickly took a turn for the worst.
“[The Anatolian Shepherd] was actually fine for a little bit, for a few minutes at least. And then she just snapped and started fiercely attacking my dog,” Beaulieu says.
“[Sam] wasn’t fighting back at all. He was howling out and screaming, and she had him pinned down on his back, and she was, like, ripping at him.”
While initially shocked about the unexpected assault on his dog, Beaulieu “kicked into gear pretty quick” and wrestled the attacking canine off Sam. He had to pin the Anatolian Shepherd with all his weight to stop the attack.
According to Beaulieu, the aggressive dog’s owner did nothing to intervene and was “dismissive” following the incident. Beaulieu filed a complaint with Whitehorse’s bylaw department.
In addition to Young’s and Beaulieu’s complaints to bylaw officials, several other reports have allegedly been made to the city’s bylaw department regarding the dog that attacked Cinnabun and Sam. Young says she knows four other people who have filed bylaw complaints regarding the allegedly aggressive Anatolian Shepherd.
Whitehorse’s animal control bylaw notes that a dangerous dog is one that “has bitten, injured, attacked or killed a domestic animal, without provocation, on public or private property” or “has shown the disposition or tendency to be threatening or aggressive,” among other criteria.
It is unclear whether the Anatolian Shepherd related to the above mentioned cases has been declared a dangerous dog, and the City of Whitehorse declined to comment further on the situation.
Reflecting on the attack on her dog, Young says she is grateful that her eight-year-old son was not walking Cinnabun when the incident occurred.
“I am so grateful that, like, I’m the one that had this encounter because I can’t even imagine what would have happened to my son […] walking the dog and he ran into this person,” Young says.
“I just want to make sure the community is safe […] I don’t feel safe walking my dog. I don’t feel safe, myself, going outside with this person who cannot control his giant dog.”
Contact Matthew Bossons at firstname.lastname@example.org