A pit bull-Rottweiler-mix dog mauled a 16-day-old baby girl in a Saanich, B.C., home at 4014 McLellan St. on Sunday morning, causing “significant head and facial injuries,” police said. It is not known why the dog attacked the newborn.
However, neighbors told the Times Columnist that the male dog, named Buck, had been declared a dangerous dog by authorities in 2007 and was a longstanding source of concern in the community.
At the time of the declaration, the dog owner, Paul Gill, was ordered to keep the animal in a locked cage in the backyard and to leash and muzzle him any time he was taken off the property, said Saanich police spokesman Sgt. Steve Eassie. He was also ordered to display a dangerous dog sign on the premises.
Buck had been involved in several incidents of aggression toward other animals, including biting another dog, according to the report. After the attack on the dog, Buck was briefly seized by the Saanich animal pound but shortly afterward was returned to Gill, subject to certain terms and conditions for keeping him at home.
Sgt. Eassie confirmed there were subsequent complaints from neighbors that the owner was not complying with those conditions. He said that information will be considered in the criminal negligence investigation into the attack on the baby girl.
Meanwhile, the infant remains in a Victoria hospital after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to her face on Monday.
One neighbor told CTV News she is horrified that it took a baby being attacked for officials to deal with the dangerous dog.
POLICE NOT CONTACTED FOR TWO HOURS AFTER ATTACK
According to the Province, the baby was sleeping in the living room—apparently where the 17-year-old dog was also allowed. The mother and grandmother were asleep upstairs. The father was the first awakened by the cries of the baby, but instead of calling 911 for emergency medical assistance and an ambulance, the family drove the baby to Victoria General Hospital at about 1:45 a.m.
Saanich police say they were not contacted for two hours--hospital staff reported the incident to social workers, who then contacted police.
“Any time an attack like this happens, we have to look at the criminal side,” Constable Nawid Akbar told CTV News. “However, all accounts are leading to it just being an unfortunate accident.”
The dog has been destroyed, according to the Province. The family agreed to have the animal euthanized because of the seriousness of the attack.
AUTHORITIES KNEW THE DOG WAS DANGEROUS
A neighbor, who feared reprisal and would not give her name, is reported as saying, “I feel this whole situation could have been prevented. That dog wasn’t a nice dog.” She said she would often call police or pound officers to report that Buck was not muzzled when being walked around the neighborhood.
“The owners, Saanich police, and the pound all knew that dog was aggressive and dangerous,” she said.
Paul Gill lives in the house with his wife, mother, brother and the baby, the Province reports. His brother, Rashpal Gill spoke to the Times Colonist and said, “I don’t think the dog should have been put down. I don’t think the dog should have been in the house. It was a bunch of different situations.”
He denied that the dog was aggressive, “[The dog] probably didn’t know any better,” he said, “It maybe thought the baby was a toy for all I know.”
Another neighbor told the Province, “It got to the point where people weren’t even walking down that way because they were afraid of the dog coming out.” She said she and several other neighbors had called police to complain about the pit bull.
PIT BULL UNPREDICTABILITY EXPLAINED BY BREEDER
Barbara Watt, president of the Victoria City Kennel Club, said in an interview that she was “appalled at the notion of crossing-breeding a Rottweiler with a pit bull,” the Province reports.
She also emphasized that no dog--regardless of breed--should ever be allowed near a child without supervision.
Watt said one of the things making pit bulls unpredictable is the lack of established breeding patterns. It is very unlikely anyone breeding a pit bull has a good notion of their animal’s pedigree or its background ancestry. Amateur breeders have selected and promoted the animals for their fighting prowess, she said.
It is opposite to what happens when someone takes on a purebred, recognized breed from a reputable dog breeder, she stated. Such animals grow physically to an expected size and their temperaments are reasonably predictable, said Watt.