‘I thought he was going to die’: Corgi, owner injured in Toronto dog attack

Click to play video: 'Corgi and owner injured in Toronto dog attack'
Corgi and owner injured in Toronto dog attack
WATCH: Corgi and owner injured in Toronto dog attack – Feb 9, 2022

A woman and her one-year-old dog are recovering from injuries after being attacked by another dog near Sunnyside Park in Toronto early Tuesday morning.

Shawna Smith and her boyfriend were walking their Corgi, Yoda, along Martin Goodman Trail, when they say a large, black dog ran towards them.

“The dog came up to my little Corgi and bit his back leg,” Smith told Global News. “So at that point, I yanked up my dog, held him over my head, and the dog was attacking both my dog, and me.”

Yoda suffered a puncture wound to his hind leg. Smith, who needed several stitches on her face, as well as dental work from the trauma, says she barely felt any pain at the time of the attack.

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“I just remember my puppy was screaming his head off,” Smith recalled. “It was the most blood-curdling thing you could ever hear.”

“I felt no pain because I just wanted my dog to live,” she continued. “I thought he was going to die when all of that was happening.”

Smith alleges the attacking dog’s owners did not try to intervene, and did not take responsibility for their pet’s actions before leaving.

Smith’s boyfriend recorded a video of the aftermath, in which a man can be heard saying, “I said sorry.”

Smith and her boyfriend posted to social media in hopes of identifying the people involved.

“I just want them to either come forward or for someone to identify them and for them to be held accountable for their actions,” Smith said.

Click to play video: 'Clear Lake woman attacked by dogs asking pet owners to be responsible'
Clear Lake woman attacked by dogs asking pet owners to be responsible

Toronto police told Global News the attack is not considered a criminal investigation and have turned the case over to Toronto Animal Services.

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In an email to Global News, Toronto Animal Services said it “is aware of the incident that occurred on the Martin Goodman Trail on Feb. 8.”

“As this is an active investigation, we are unable to provide more details at this time,” the email reads.

Animal lawyer Jennifer Freidman, said once Animal Services starts an investigation, they question all of the involved parties and “look at the background” of a particular dog to decide what to do.

She told Global News this could include issuing a warning, or — depending on the severity of the injuries — the imposition of a dangerous dog order.

“Generally, the most onerous aspect of a dangerous dog order is the muzzling component,” she explained. “There are a number of other standard provisions, but most dog owners find that to be the most challenging.”

Click to play video: 'Owner of dog that allegedly attacked teen speaks about incident'
Owner of dog that allegedly attacked teen speaks about incident

She said if a person “considers themselves aggrieved by that order,” they have the opportunity to appeal the order to the dangers dog review tribunal.

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“But until the matter is heard, the individual is required to adhere to all of the conditions in the order,” she said.

According to Friedman, there are “many mechanisms in place to promote owner accountability at the local level.”

“Most municipalities have a municipal bylaw, that either incorporates animal provisions or is wholly dedicated to animal provisions and such things as potentially dangerous dog and dangerous dog orders, as well as administrative monetary penalties,” she explained.

According to the City of Toronto website, there are a number of animal-related bylaws and associated fines.

For example, the website says failing to exercise “reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from engaging in a dangerous act, carries a fine of $615.

What’s more, Friedman said at the provincial level there is the Dog Owner’s Liability Act.

“And there are a number of provisions that would be relevant in a situation like this, including possibly imposing a province-wide order and charging an owner with failure to exercise the necessary precautions with regard to their dog,” she said.

Criminal investigation?

When it comes to opening a criminal investigation, Friedman said there would “have to be some sort of deliberate component,” where a person “set out to harm the person and/or animal.”

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“And then it would also relate to the extent of the injuries,” she said. “Typically, these sorts of scenarios are enforced by animal services — whether it’s Toronto or another municipality.”

She said the municipality would be charged with the responsibility of investigating these situations.

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