On Wednesday morning, Christine Kallikragas and her little Pomeranian went for a walk on the trails behind Logan.
The little dog didn’t survive it.
“He’s always so excited to go for his walks,” said Kallikragas on Thursday.
“And he just runs beside me.”
Usually there’s no one on that trail, but that morning Kallikragas saw a woman approaching with two big dogs.
“Whenever we see big dogs, I always pick him up,” she said.
But when Kallikragas bent down to get her little dog Pilot, the woman shouted, ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, my dogs are friendly.’”
The dogs were Italian Mastiffs.
They began to chase Pilot, and Kallikragas could tell he was scared.
“The woman could tell I was nervous and, again, told me they were friendly and loved to play,” she said.
Still sensing Pilot was scared, Kallikragas called him.
As he ran to her, the two mastiffs close behind, Pilot stumbled.
“And they just dove on him,” said Kallikragas her voice shaking.
“One grabbed his neck and the other grabbed the back of him and they just started pulling.”
Kallikragas was hitting the mastiffs, trying to pry open their jaws and free Pilot.
“The lady was just screaming,” said Kallikragas.
“But she wasn’t in there like I was.”
Kallikragas finally got the one dog off Pilot’s back, but couldn’t pry the other’s jaws off his neck.
Finally she got them off and covered Pilot with her body.
“And they were still nipping at me and scratching under me trying to get at him,” she said.
The lady eventually managed to hold her dogs, and Kallikragas picked up Pilot and started running.
He was unconscious, she said tearfully.
As she ran, she heard the woman screaming to stop. When she looked back one of the mastiffs had gotten free again and was chasing her.
“I think she was afraid it would attack me,” said Kallikragas.
“And it started to leap up and try and get Pilot again.”
When she got home, Kallikragas’s partner called the emergency vet line.
“They told me the vet would call our cell right away, so we started driving down toward the clinic,” she said.
It was 6:50 a.m.
By 7:30 a.m., after three more calls to the emergency answering service, they still hadn’t heard from the Copper Road vet.
A few minutes later, the vet finally called to say he wasn’t going to bother coming down.
He said there was no point because a vet would be at the clinic by 8 a.m., said Kallikragas.
He told her a vet technician would be there at 7:30 a.m.
Kallikragas’ partner drove over to the Alpine Veterinary Clinic to get help, and, while he was gone, the vet tech arrived at Copper Road Veterinary Clinic.
The tech, after putting her stethoscope on Pilot, pronounced the little dog dead.
“And the vet tech was appalled the vet hadn’t come,” said Kallikragas.
The couple then rushed to Alpine, where they were assured a vet would be there in five minutes.
Alpine’s crew confirmed Pilot was dead.
Bylaw services is currently investigating the incident, said manager John Taylor on Thursday.
And Pilot’s body has been sent south for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, he said.
The mastiff owner is going to be fined $150, for having nuisance dogs, said Kallikragas.
“But it seems so wrong that I lost my baby and someone only has to pay $150.
“If the dogs had attacked me, I think the repercussions would have been different.”
Kallikragas does have nips and bites from wrestling the mastiffs off Pilot.
“But when the bylaw officer asked me if they bit me, I said no — I was just thinking of Pilot,” she said.
Kallikragas doesn’t necessarily want the dogs put down, she said.
But she thinks the fine should be much stiffer.
“How can an owner not understand the capabilities of her dogs,” she said.
“Everyone with big dogs usually controls them, and I always pick up Pilot. But he likes to play with big dogs, and when I hear someone who is so overwhelmingly sure her dogs are fine…
“She reassured me three times — even when she sensed I was worried; when they were chasing him, she said, ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, my dogs are fine — they’re babies.”
But anyone who has a dog that has been bred for killing or hunting should be able to control it, said Kallikragas
“You know, my dog was bred to sit on laps and he does that well, and it’s not dangerous.”
When an incident like this occurs, there’s a voluntary fine of $150, confirmed Taylor.
But city officials are going more for the dangerous dog provisions, “to protect the people afterwards,” he said.
When a dog is deemed dangerous, its owner has to comply with several conditions, he said.
The dog will be confined in a secure enclosure and, if out with owner, must be on a leash.
They may also have to be muzzled when in public, and the city demands the owner have an insurance policy to protect against future liabilities, he said.
“I can’t believe I lost my baby,” said Kallikragas.
“He was every part of my life — there is nothing I do without him.
“I can’t believe that he’s dead and their dogs are fine — all they have to do is keep them on a leash.”
But Taylor thinks the repercussions may be more severe.
“We’re going to go to court on this,” he said.
“We’re not going to give someone a voluntary fine — it’s whatever the courts decide to levy the fine as.”
The courts are not in favour of destroying dogs right off the bat, he added.
“Even though the dog might have done something like this, it’s still part of the family and we try to rehabilitate these animals as best we can.”
“I should have just picked up Pilot,” said Kallikragas.
“When it was happening, I kept thinking, ‘OK, I’ve learned my lesson, we will get to the vet and get some stitches but it is so much worse than that.
“I hate that I’ve learned my lesson this way.”