A local man and his dog are recovering at home after a vicious attack at a City dog park over the weekend.
Travis Winnichuk and his dog Ryder, a four-year-old miniature Labradoodle were finishing up a walk at the Oxbows Off-Leash Dog Park on Sunday.
“We were walking over to our vehicle and there was a couple near the farmer’s field across from the dog park,” he said. “They took their two dogs off the leashes and these two dogs came running over. I didn’t think anything of it because Ryder plays with all types of different dogs.
“But when this other dog’s owner got wound up like he knew what was going to happen, I thought something was wrong.”
The dog began attacking Ryder before Winnichuk could get to him.
“I jumped on top of the dog to try and pull him off Ryder and then another dog came and went for Ryder’s back legs,” he said. “They were both on Ryder at the same time.”
Ryder suffered severe injuries including deep puncture wounds to his back right leg and multiple lacerations and puncture wounds to his right shoulder which has left him with four tubes to ensure proper drainage. The couple was also left with an $800 vet bill.
Winnichuk suffered 28 puncture wounds to his hands as well as nerve damage after he tried to intervene and get the dog off Ryder.
“I never got the guy’s name or license plate because I was trying to get my dog out of there and to the vet,” he said. “Ryder was bleeding quite a bit.
“I honestly feel bad for the other couple because the girl who was with the guy was a nervous wreck.”
He added normally his girlfriend, Cory Naidoo, walks Ryder at the dog park and he said he is thankful she was not with him when the incident happened.
“We have a different perspective now,” he said. “I won’t let her go by herself after this.
“If Cory would have been there I don’t know how Ryder would be because it was all pretty aggressive.”
Meanwhile, Duane Thomas, director of enforcement with Alberta Animal Services said education is key in preventing these types of attacks.
“Dogs are not trained on their own,” he said. “People need to determine how their dog will react at these types of parks before letting them off leash. If they show aggression than they need some training or advice from a behavior consultant.
“Dogs who are aggressive should not be taken into these types of environments.”
He added if an attack happens those involved or witnesses of the attack need to get more information so proper measures can be taken.
“We recommend people take license plate numbers and report these incidents because most likely the people involved will not go back to the park anytime soon because they know others will be looking for them,” said Thomas. “The penalties for dog attacks in Red Deer are severe.”
He added reports of dog attacks come in every couple of months.