The family of a 13-year-old boy say he was mauled by a dog that was recently released by animal services in Vaughan, Ont.
Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool now bears significant scarring on his face.
On Nov. 5, he was finishing up at Black Belt World, the taekwondo studio he goes to. He’s been training in the sport for nine years.
The teen and his father told Global News there was a dog at the downtown Toronto facility that belongs to the owner. Muhammad said he was approached by his instructor.
“He asked me if I’m scared of dogs, so I said, ‘Yes,'” he recalled. “He told me to overcome my fear and get close to the dog if I want to be taekwondo national champion.”
He said he felt pressured and wanted to prove he could accomplish that feat.
“I got close to the dog and looked at him. I look at him and he jumped on my face and bit it.”
The boy’s father, who was waiting for him at the studio, said he heard his scream and ran in his direction.
Black Belt World, the club they were at, is owned by Tommy Chang, the owner of Blu (also known as ‘Dwaeji’).
The one-year-old American bulldog recently made headlines after being seized by Vaughan Animal Services, and was held for almost a month on suspicion he was part pit bull, which is a prohibited breed in Ontario.
“I just ran toward the changeroom to see what’s going on there. So when I see his face bleeding, and all the blood…I was so terrified,” Muath Alzghool said during a sit-down interview with Global News.
He said since going public with their story, they have been showered with responses, but not all of them have been positive.
One Facebook poster wrote: “Bans shouldn’t be on these dogs nor should this dog be put down. Your kid should be put down!”
Muath said he wanted to reiterate that his family, while afraid of dogs, is not against them or their owners.
He is now calling for regulation that would prevent dogs from being present at facilities where children train.
A lawyer for Tommy Chang declined to comment on the specifics of the incident, when contacted, saying it was under investigation by Toronto police.
He added that his client will continue to fully co-operate.
When reached for information about the investigation, a Toronto police spokesperson said by email they had an “incident report on file for an animal bite,” and directed Global News to contact animal services for more details.
Vaughan Animal Services said while they received a report about the alleged incident, they could not comment further because of the active police investigation.
When pressed for specifics, they did say they are, “not in possession of the dog.”
In the meantime, Muhammad has yet to return to school, and said he has nightmares about the canine.
“I don’t want to see any dogs because I’m terrified this is going to happen again.”
His next medical appointment is slated for later this week.