A Dartmouth woman says she feared for her life when a dog she'd never seen before suddenly raced into her home Monday morning, dragged out the family's Pomeranian, and killed it.
Halifax Regional Police captured the dog, which the city identified as A MALE PIT BULL, and turned over to animal control officers as the investigation continues.
The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday on Fourth Street, near Admiral Westphal Elementary School. The dog that was killed was a four-year-old black and white Pomeranian named Diamond.
Diamond's owner, Rachelle Coward, said door to her ground-level apartment was open to let her two dogs out as she got ready for work. Coward`s partner was on the porch watching when a dog chased Diamond back into the apartment.
"The next thing you know I'm on top of a pit bull trying to wrestle just to get the jaws off Diamond's neck," Coward said. She watched as Diamond was cornered by the living room sofa and "in a split second he had her like that and would not let her go."
"I feared for all of our lives," Coward said. "If the dog didn't have Diamond in its mouth, who's next?
"The only way that dog would let go was for that dog to leave with my dead dog in its mouth."
Coward said three people tried to rescue Diamond, including Coward's mother and partner. Even Coward's second dog, Prince, tried to help. Coward and her mother chased the dog up the street until it dropped Diamond. Coward's mother waved a soup ladle at the animal to try and keep it at bay while Coward scooped up Diamond's body and returned to the apartment.
The homeowners did not know the attacking dog. It was not wearing a collar or tags. Coward's mother even got into the car and followed the dog to see where it would end up. Coward said she now has a good idea who the owner is.
Police officers searched the area and found a dog matching the description of the one that attacked. Police captured the dog and called animal control.
Halifax Regional Municipality spokesman Brendan Elliott said the owner of the dog has been found and has no previous history with animal control. He said the investigation will determine if the dog had any history with animal control. What happens next with the dog has yet to be determined.
"What will dictate how we proceed is the severity and circumstances of an attack," Elliott said. "That will play huge in the investigation. We will do interviews with all witnesses and then make a determination at the end of that of how to proceed."
One of those witnesses was 13-year-old Kierra Mackenzie O'Neil, who lives next door to Diamond's owners.
She was outside the apartment and saw the pit bull lunge toward Diamond and heard yelping during the attack. She said the last thing she saw was Diamond being carried out of the building in the pit bull's mouth.
"I wasn't sleeping all night. I couldn't get the sight out. I was worried that if we took my dog out, something bad would happen. I was terrified," she said.
Elliott confirms the dog that was seized is now at the Homeward Bound shelter inDartmouth while the investigation continues. He said enforcement could range from issuing a muzzle order to seeking a court order to seize the dog and have it euthanized.
He said the dog's owner could also be charged.
"The owner of the dog could face, in this particular situation, a charge of having a dog at large and also of attacking another dog or person. Both charges individually carry a $200 fine," he said.
Coward said she would like to see the dog put down.
"Diamond didn't seem like a dog to him," she said. "It seemed like a piece of meat."