A week after a vicious pit bull attack in the Garrison Crossing neighbourhood left a woman and her dog injured, the owner has refused to turn the dog in and it has not been seized by animal control.
The woman — who asked The Progress not to use her full name because of the owner’s criminal history — suffered a large laceration and tendon damage in the incident that occurred on Aug. 31 around 4 p.m. near the entrance to Save-On Foods on Tamihi Way.
Her dog, named Rux, suffered serious injuries and the woman, A.C., says he’s now skittish and traumatized.
Many who witnessed the violent attack, too, said it was traumatizing to see.
The owner fled the scene, but witnesses identified him as Kristopher Benson, a man well-known to local police and the justice system sentenced to jail for property crimes just a few months ago.
“It was just a horrific experience,” A.C. said. “We walk that route all the time and we live in this community. It was a very traumatizing scenario and as far as animal control is concerned, the dog still hasn’t been picked up as of now.”
That was 24 hours after the incident on Sept. 1, and as of Sept. 6, the dog still had not been seized.
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) now provides animal control services for the City of Chilliwack. FVRD spokesperson Jennifer Kinneman said the owner has not agreed to surrender the pit bull, which is the first step in the process after a dog attack with injuries.
“We appreciate that people want answers and want updates but it is an active investigation,” Kinneman said.
A.C. and other witnesses confirmed that during the attack the dog, described as an extra large pit bull, latched on to her dog and would not let go. A.C. was hitting the pit bull and later got help from a stranger who hit it with a piece of rebar unsuccessfully to get it to release its bite.
It was yet another stranger who stopped and used bear spray to finally get the dog to briefly release its grip, although A.C. said even that didn’t stop the aggressive behaviour.
After the attack, a large pool of blood was visible on the sidewalk to passing residents, among them a group of children from a local day camp.
And while Kinneman said the dog, whose name is Magnum, had not been seized because Benson refused to surrender it, the dog was already designated an aggressive dog prior to the attack and was required to wear a muzzle in public.
For an animal control officer to immediately seize a dog it has to be designated “dangerous,” which means it has killed or seriously injured an animal or person.
The initial story on the attack last week garnered divisive commentary from both those defending pit bulls, but also those critical of the dog’s owner.
The owner himself commented on the story defending his dog and his actions. Benson said it was not a dog attack but a “dog fight.”
“Her dog bit my dog about 20 times!!!!!” Benson wrote. “My dog bit her dog once. !!!! And my dog got hit over the head with a huge glass bottle !!!!!! That he has 9 stitches on his. Face !!”
He said the story is “blown way out of control” and that Rux was just as at fault as Magnum in the incident.
“Magnum is the most nicest LOVEABLE dog you have ever met it’s my daughter’s best friend,” he wrote.
He also claimed Magnum did have a muzzle on but it was knocked off when they started fighting.