Mikenna Fitzpatrick

Mikenna Fitzpatrick

Animal control investigates dog attack in Red Deer

An animal control officer is investigating after a toddler was bitten by a dog in Red Deer.

An animal control officer is investigating after a toddler was bitten by a dog in Red Deer.

Her wounds are healing, but the child’s parents are concerned that the dog may be free to bite again.

Christina Fitzpatrick of Blackfalds says she and her husband, Devon, and their two young daughters were visiting friends in Red Deer on June 9 when one of the host family’s three dogs bit their two-year-old, Mikenna, in the face.

Everyone was relaxing after dinner at the home and both Devon and Christina had turned away for a moment when they heard Mikenna’s screams, said Fitzpatrick.

They turned around to see blood streaming down Mikenna’s face where the family’s border collie had grabbed her.

The dog let go after Mikenna started to scream, Fitzpatrick said.

“Nobody heard the dog growl or bark at her or anything.”

The dog’s owner declined comment on Wednesday.

Fitzpatrick and her husband took Mikenna to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre where a plastic surgeon performed two hours of emergency work on the bites, including punctures inside of her mouth, on her nose and just below her right eye. A second surgery was performed a week later.

While the plastic surgeon has been pleased with the progress of Mikenna’s wounds, Fitzpatrick and her husband are distressed at the emotional toll the bites have taken on their daughter, who has frequent nightmares and becomes fearful when anyone gets too close to her face.

Also distressing is that the dog has not been ordered put down, said Fitzpatrick.

She is concerned that the dog could bite another child.

Duane Thomas, an animal control officer contracted to the City of Red Deer, said on Tuesday that the attack on Mikenna is still under investigation and that charges will “most likely” be laid.

The owners have had the option of having the animal put down voluntarily and have decided that is not the course of action they wish to take, said Thomas.

The dog has satisfied a 10-day quarantine required by Alberta Health Services to determine whether there was a medical issue, he said.

Further investigation will determine what charges should be laid and whether or not the animal is to be declared an aggressive dog. If that happens, the city has the right to seize and destroy the animal, although its owners will have an opportunity to make an appeal.

The city may also decide that the animal can stay in the home, but only under very strict conditions to avoid an opportunity for any further incidents, said Thomas.

He expects to reach a decision by the end of this week.

Fitzpatrick is urging that charges be laid and that the dog be removed and put down before another child is bitten.

“I don’t want them to pay a whole lot of money. I don’t want this dog to bite another kid,” she said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com