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Experts caution dog owners on dangers of off-leash parks after fatal attack on puppy

WATCH ABOVE: After a dog was attacked at an off-leash dog park in Oakville, dog experts say it’s important for owners to know their dog’s behaviour and to assess the behaviour of other dogs to avoid a potentially fatal confrontation. Angie Seth has the story.

TORONTO — Animal experts are reminding pet owners to exercise caution when using off-leash dog parks after a puppy was killed in Oakville.

One Milton, Ont. family is grieving after their one-year-old chorkie Russell was killed when two large dogs allegedly pounced on the puppy unexpectedly.

Toronto dog walker Irene MaGee says she’s often seen dogs become aggressive with each other.

“It happened to me too, that another dog gets upset and one of my dogs and then I go in,” she said.

Phil Nichols, Director of Operations at the Toronto Humane Society, said it is important for owners to use caution when bringing their dog to an off-leash dog park.

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“The risk is always how well socialized other dogs who are using the park are,” Nichols said.

“Just like people, certain dogs sometimes just don’t get along and your dog may get along great with everybody except that one dog.”

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Dog owner Deb Nathan says it’s important for people to take ownership of their dogs.

“One of the biggest issues is owners who don’t do that … it’s your dog you are really responsible,” Nathan said.

Nichols says although these tragic situations aren’t common, it’s important  to be wary when interacting with new dogs.

“What we suggest to people who want to use off leash dog parks would be to really assessing the park before you take your dog there and getting out there and try to meet some of the owners and get familiar with the dogs that are using the park so you can see how things work and they react,” Nichols said.

“You want to get comfortable with reading dog body language and trying to see what the group is doing and how they are interacting with each other.”