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City takes legal action after ‘vicious’ dog attack

Pit bulls attack Golden Retriever in Willowbrook area
Steve and Michelle Bassett at Dawson Creek council Aug. 22.

City council has voted to take legal action against the owner of two pit bulls, after an attack in the city last month left a Golden Retriever in serious condition needing several surgeries. 

Pending the result of an investigation, the city is seeking to seize the animals and have them put down with the help of the local SPCA.

Fines have been issued to the owner of the pit bulls through the city’s bylaw officer, but the owners of the attacked dog, Steve and Michelle Bassett, told city councillors Aug. 22 this was not enough. 

The Bassetts were joined at council Monday by neighbour Shannon Duff, who said the incident left them fearing for their safety and the safety of children in the neighbourhood.

The incident happened the evening of July 31 in the Willowbrook area, off 17th Street near Chamberlain Park. 

Two dogs identified as pit bulls are said to have attacked the Basset’s family dog, dragging it into the street. The Bassetts told council that a man who was nearby and who is assumed to be the owner of the dogs did nothing to stop the attack. 

A neighbour intervened with a hockey stick before the alleged owner was eventually able to call the dogs off.

“The noise that woke me up was awful,” Michelle Bassett told councillors. “I got out on our front step and looked out… and saw my dog being attacked. I thought she was dead. The gentleman that was present with the dogs made some kind of a weird command and they instantly got off her.”

When neighbours confronted the man, he said the dogs were not his. 

Later that evening, Michelle Bassett said she had a conversation with the man during which he told her that he knew nothing would be done, that he had been moved to the city from “somewhere else” and that he was going to be “allowed one infraction.”

“He already seemed to know what was going to happen,” Michelle said. “That just makes me really uneasy.”

Wendy Davies, manager of the South Peace SPCA says she has sufficient reason to believe the dogs are a danger to the community. 

Chief Administrative Officer Jim Chute informed councillors that the only option available to them beyond bylaw enforcement was to pursue the seizure and destruction of the dogs through the courts.

Council voted in favour of legal action. Chute said the city will first approach the owner to see if they will voluntarily comply before taking the matter through the courts.