Four-month-old puppy Echo had some baby teeth and a chunk of her face ripped out in an alleged attack by a neighbour’s dog in a West Kelowna neighborhood.
Her owner is now calling for stronger laws against dangerous animals.
“The neighbour’s dog’s head came through our fence, grabbed her, and was trying to drag her back onto their property,” Echo’s owner Laura Bricker said.
“This could have easily, easily been a child.”
Bricker said she heard the commotion from inside and rushed to see what was happening.
“Echo came running to me after being released from the dog’s mouth. She was bleeding in my arms, and all I could do was hold her and hope for the best,” she said.
The puppy, a Siberian Husky, underwent nine hours of facial surgery on Monday and has returned for laser treatments every other day since, Bricker said.
“We had a couple of teeth broken, and we had a big skin laceration in the lip with part of the lip missing,” veterinarian Moshe Oz said.
“The most important part and the most complicated surgery that we needed to do is to align the lip so she will be able to chew,” he added.
Bricker, a mother of three, is worried for the safety of her young children.
She believes the laws covering dangerous dogs aren’t adequate, and pet owners need to be more accountable.
“We need to start punishing the owners of these animals instead of the animals themselves,” she said. “It’s easy to go put down your animal. It’s different when you actually have to face the consequences.”
Bricker noted owners with dogs who have mauled young kids have been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm. She’s calling for penalties for injuring a dog to be just as serious.
“This is no different. If the laws were different, people would stop owning dogs that were dangerous or stop creating dogs that are dangerous,” she said.
“This would be a whole different situation if this was my child, and I feel like next time, it definitely could be,” she said.
Bricker is also calling for those with dangerous dogs to be accountable for vet bills and the cost of repairing fences.
The dog owner, Gunther Wicsek, disputes his neighbour’s claim and said the puppy actually came onto his property. He also said his dog isn’t dangerous. He declined an on-camera interview for the story.
Animal control could not be reached for an update on the situation after visiting his house.
For pet owners dealing with aggressive dogs, Oz said it’s important to understand their temperament.
“Control him, make sure that you are with him, make sure that if he’s going outside, you put a muzzle on him. Make sure you warn people who might come to the door that he can be dangerous,” he said.