WARNING: This story contains details and photos that may be disturbing to some readers.
A longtime Richmond resident is pleading for the owner of two pit bulls who attacked his dog to come forward.
Ivano Bicego said he walked his four-year-old red blue heeler Kelli to their regular spot at Walter Lee Elementary on Tuesday around 9:20 p.m., and let her off the leash in the field to do her business.
That’s when he saw two black dogs coming towards them.
“Usually I won’t think anything about it, but they just kept coming,” Bicego said Thursday. “At about 15 to 20 yards away, I said, ‘Oh no … they’re pit bulls.’ And by that time, they came and just leaped on my dog.”
One of the dogs went straight for Kelli’s neck area while the other went to work on her back and torso. When they wouldn’t let go, and with no sight of their owner, Bicego quickly entered the fray.
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Bicego said the pit bulls’ master then rode up on his bike, and that his reaction left something to be desired.
“He said, ‘My dogs are good dogs, I love animals,'” he recalled. “I said, ‘Get your f—ing dogs off my dog, they’re killing her.'”
After finding himself unable to get the dog to release Kelli’s neck, Bicego grabbed her leash and started hitting the pit bull with the buckle, finally convincing it to let go.
The master grabbed the dog and held it back, allowing Kelli a chance to stagger away, only for the second dog to catch up to her and start attacking again.
Bicego said the master “must have said something” that got the second dog to release and back off. Before he could say anything else to the master, he was riding off with the two dogs in tow.
“I went to my dog, and she was crying like I’ve never heard her before,” Bicego said. “I gave her a big hug and immediately called the RCMP.”
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Police took a look around the park but found no sight of the master or the two dogs. Global News has reached out to Richmond RCMP for comment.
The City of Richmond said staff are looking into the incident, but could not find any information immediately.
Bicego said Kelli’s injuries are serious enough to require extensive surgery, including cutting pieces of the skin and fat where the bite happened on her neck and back.
WARNING: Disturbing images of Kalli’s wounds after an attack from two pit bulls
“We’re just going to have to wait and see how much damage was done,” he said, which the veterinarian told the family would take a couple of weeks. He added the vet bills have already exceeded $1,000.
“She’s got a little while to go before she’s able to run and jump and play like she always does,” he added, saying Kelli has also become nervous and skittish in the wake of the attack.
The pit bulls are described as dark grey or brown — Bicego said the low light in the evening made it hard to say for sure — and their owner is described as a Caucasian man around 25 to 30 years old, wearing a brown hoodie and brown shorts and riding a BMX bike.
Bicego said a similar incident happened in the same location in March involving a man with the same description. In that case, the pit bulls were fought off a leashed dog with a baseball bat.
He’s calling on the owner to come forward and find a way to either contain or leash his dogs to prevent future attacks, adding the pit bulls are vicious enough that a smaller dog or a small child wouldn’t have survived.
“It’s a popular place; there are always people walking their small dogs out there,” he said. “Now I’m worried that wherever I go with my dog, someone will attack.”
— With files from Julia Foy