An Ottawa mother is searching for answers after her daughter was attacked by a dog Tuesday night in a public park.
7-year-old Avery Rundquist was playing with her sisters at the Arboretum off Prince of Wales when an off-leash dog lunged at her. Rundquist said she started running to get away from the dog when it began chasing and biting her.
“I only saw the dog off leash over there running around and I didn’t think it would come at me,” said Rundquist.
At first Avery’s mother said the dog’s owners were yelling at the little girl to stop running. But then she said the owners started swearing at her daughter and denying the dog ever touched her.
“The dog chased her. He bit her on the behind,” Erin Rundquist said. “But the dog’s owner and his friend yelled at her to stop and started mocking her for running out of fear.”
Rundquist said repeated requests to obtain the owners’ information as well as the dog’s vaccination records were denied. She said the owners would only provide the name of a veterinarian who no longer works in Ottawa. The dog's owner has not been identified and is unknown to Rundquist or her family.
Bylaw services is investigating the case and Ottawa Public Health has been in touch with the family about the incident. Avery is recovering well, but said she is still shaken from Tuesday’s incident at the on-leash park.
“I don’t want the dog to be put down or anything like that,” she said. “ But that dog needs to be trained and I would like to know if he has been vaccinated.”
Avery’s case is the second known dog bite incident in less than a week. On Saturday a 50-year-old woman was sent to hospital in critical condition after she was mauled by a dog in Vanier. Both animals are believed to be PIT BULLS or PIT BULL MIXES.
Since 2005, 4,113 dog bites have been recorded in Ottawa. 16 of those cases involved pit-bulls or bit-bull mixes, breeds of dogs banned in Ontario in 2005, with certain exemptions.
Identifying the breed and what meets the definition of a “pit-bull” under the Ontario government’s Act can be challenging," said Roger Chapman, Chief Bylaw and Regulatory Services.
“In the case of vicious dogs, By-law and Regulatory Services enforces both the relevant provisions of the City of Ottawa's Animal Care and Control By-law, and those of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, the latter under which owners may face penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and 6 months in jail,” he said.
Anyone who is attacked by a dog is advised to call for help before reporting the incident to By-law and Regulatory Services.