Dog owners encouraged to ensure proper control following attack

A vicious dog-on-dog attack on a trail near École Steffie Woima Elementary School has animal control officers advising dog walkers

A vicious dog-on-dog attack on a trail near École Steffie Woima Elementary School has animal control officers advising dog walkers to ensure they’re in full control of their pets before taking them out for a walk.

The incident occurred the evening of Apr. 6, when a Westie dog, at the time being walked by its owner, was attacked by two larger dogs, whose owner was unable to restrain them.

While the Westie is now on its way to a full recovery, it sustained injuries to its paw, neck and shoulder. A woman accompanying its walker also received a bite to the hand.

Animal control officer Jim DeBoon said there are certain actions dog owners can take to prevent such an attack from happening.

“In this case, the person walking the two dogs was actually physically incapable of restraining them,” he said. “The bottom line is you should walk dogs that you can walk, but you shouldn’t walk dogs that are stronger than you.”

Humans who attempt to intervene in such attacks are often injured by bites, he added.

While this case was no exception, there are things bystanders can do to release a dog’s grip on a person, another animal or an object.

“Dogs can be released not by prying the jaws open — that’s a misnomer,” said DeBoon. “With powerful dogs, there’s almost no physical way to do that.

“But you can actually restrict the airway by simply pushing up on the trachea where it’s soft at the base of the mouth. That’s how the dog gets its air, and it has to at some point release what it’s got a hold of.”

The Apr. 6 attack was still being investigated at press time, and it was unclear if any charges would be laid in relation to the incident.