A Kelowna family is grieving following a vicious attack that killed their family therapy dog and undermined their sense of safety. (Image Credit: Contributed)

Vicious dog attack leaves Kelowna family grieving

A Kelowna family is grieving following a vicious dog attack on the Mission Creek Greenway.

UPDATE:

“I’ve learned the two dogs that were involved in the attack on Sunday afternoon on the Greenway were tied and unattended when Animal Control arrived,” said Bruce Smith of the Regional District.

“Just want to clarify that they had previously gotten loose and attacked the small dog.”

ORIGINAL

A Kelowna family is grieving the loss of a family therapy dog that was killed this weekend in a vicious attack on the Mission Creek Greenway.

Lisa McCartney went to the popular outdoor destination for a Sunday stroll with her dad, son Jayden and their Shih Tzu cross Cazzie when the unthinkable happened.

“We were just about to go down the path and we saw a guy standing there with a big ball and chain and two (dogs that looked like pitbulls),” she said.

She considered picking up Cazzie, but was reassured that they were safe when she noticed the man appeared to be holding the dogs back so her family could safely walk past.

“As we were walking, they started barking and then they just grabbed Cazzie and ran off,” she said.

Her dad chased after the dogs and tried to get Cazzie away and but the big dogs were already inflicting what turned out to be fatal damage.

“They kept tearing him apart,” she said.

Her dad entered the fray and did get Cazzie into his arms once, but then the dogs attacked him and got the little dog back in their jaws.

“People started kicking at the dogs and trying to get them off,” she said.

Jayden, 5, is on the Autism spectrum and watched as the fight to save his therapy dog ensued. He kept screaming, “is he going to be OK?”

Cazzie wasn’t OK. When McCartney finally got Cazzie to the veterinarian they were told that the damage to the 10-year-old dog was so significant that any operation would either be fatal or cause paralysis.

So, McCartney opted to euthanize.

“We’re all traumatized,” she said. Her dad has to get stitches on his fingers to repair rips that exposed his bone.

More than that, however, they’re dealing with the memories of violence toward something they loved and helped their family.

“My son keeps asking, ‘where’s Cazzie? Why did those dogs hurt Cazzie?'” she said.

“I keep telling him he (died) and has gone to live with the other pets, but he’s expecting to meet him after school and come out and play. He can’t comprehend what happened.”

What she can’t comprehend is how or why it happened.

The man who was holding the dogs when they broke loose tried to pry them back when the attack was underway, and McCartney remembers him saying, “they aren’t my dogs— they aren’t my dogs.”

He left to go wash his hands of blood and never returned to the scene.

The dogs were taken away by the animal control and now McCartney has heard their owners want to get them back.

Bruce Smith of the Central Okanagan Regional District said the dogs are Mastif-Presa Canario mixes and were tied up and unattended when they attacked Cazzie.

“The two dogs had no identification and have been impounded and the owner has 72 hours to claim them,” Smith said. “If unclaimed, the dogs will be humanely euthanized. The investigation continues.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family pay for the vet bill and a memorial for Cazzie.

Signature