« on: September 02, 2012, 10:14:09 PM »
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A pit bull is still on the loose after it fatally mauled an 8-year-old border collie in front its owner in an Etobicoke ravine Thursday afternoon.
The attack happened just after 1:30 p.m. in Chapman Valley Park, near Royal York Rd. and Lawrence Ave. W.
Noemi Stefenatti and her 12-year-old granddaughter were walking their dog, Lucy, along the quiet path and were coming up to an exit at Leggett Ave. when a pit bull with a dark brown coat darted toward them.
“We were coming home and this dog come up from nowhere but then they tear our dog apart. I was screaming for my granddaughter to go away and I was pulling my dog,” said a distraught Stefenatti.
In a matter of seconds, the dog had its jaws around Lucy’s neck. The pit bull continued its attack until Lucy’s body went limp, despite Stefenatti’s attempt to pull her beloved pet to safety.
The pit bull then retreated to a spot under a nearby tree where it rested for a few moments before police arrived.
The dog was not on a leash but was wearing a thick, burgundy-coloured collar with identification tags.
“He was not really large but very ferocious, like something you see in movies. It was very gross, very gross,” Stefenatti said.
Police officers on ATVs scoured the wooded area for the dog and its owner.
Stefenatti had cared for Lucy since birth and considered her part of the family — a gentle sort who interacted well with people, especially her three young grandchildren.
Lucy was also an important source of support since Stefenatti’s adult son, her only child, moved out, recalled her daughter-in-law Franca Stefenatti, whose daughter was present at the time of the attack.
“This wasn’t just your regular dog fight that dogs get into sometimes. This dog seemed to have a motivation to kill her,” Franca Stefenatti said.
“It’s kind of freaky the way it happened. Could it have been a person? A child? Who knows if it could have targeted something else. You start thinking about these things.”
The province introduced the Dog Owner’s Liability Act in 2005 following a string of high-profile pit bull attacks on people. The legislation requires owners to spay or neuter pit bulls and to have them leashed and muzzled when in public.
Owners can be penalized with fines of up to $10,000 and could face jail time. Dogs in contravention of the act can also be seized under a warrant and, in some cases, be euthanized.
A private member’s bill to strike down the act passed in February.