Melissa Le Blanc was bitten in the face by a small dog while camping near Buffalo Lake on Aug. 6.

Couple to take action under Dangerous Dog Act after woman bitten

Angry scars still cover the nose and upper lip of a Red Deer woman bitten in the face by a small dog while camping near Buffalo Lake on Aug. 6.

Angry scars still cover the nose and upper lip of a Red Deer woman bitten in the face by a small dog while camping near Buffalo Lake on Aug. 6.

She’s keeping them slathered with ointment and covered in bandages, worried that the scars will be permanent.

She and her husband are also worried that the French bulldog that bit her may pose a danger to others.

Chris Le Blanc, a truck driver based in Red Deer, said he and Melissa had been on a campout and a friend of a friend had brought along her small dog.

The dog’s owner had warned that the animal was timid, but the Le Blancs did not learn until later that it had been abused.

She had the dog on a leash when Melissa knelt down and offered her hand.

“Instead of the dog sniffing me, he lunged at my face and bit my nose and inside of my upper lip,” Melissa wrote in a statement to the Stettler RCMP two days later.

“I pulled my hands away from my face and they were dripping with blood. I turned to my husband and asked him to take me back to our seasonal site.”

A seasonal EMT who was on the site assessed and dressed her wounds and Melissa went to a doctor later for additional treatment.

The dog’s owner, a licensed practical nurse from Stettler, did not offer any medical help, but got into her vehicle and drove off with her daughter and her dog, Melissa wrote in her statement to police.

Nearly two weeks later, she said the wounds are still sore and she is concerned about the potential for the dog to attack other people.

Although they reported the attack to a Stettler County bylaw officer and to the Stettler RCMP, neither agency has laid charges.

Sgt. Phil Penny of the Stettler detachment said he did some research after the Le Blanc’s filed their complaint. He believes their best option would be to file a complaint with Red Deer provincial court under Alberta’s Dangerous Dog Act.

He said the county dog bylaw can offer some options, such as ensuring that the dog is muzzled and on a leash whenever it is in public. But that is not useful in this case because neither the victim nor the dog owner live within its jurisdiction and the bylaw has no teeth outside county boundaries, including the Town of Stettler.

The Dangerous Dog Act can be filed at the courthouse and a hearing can be set up during which a judge can hear evidence from both sides, said Penny. If the judge feels it necessary, an order can be made to have the dog confined or destroyed. The Act includes a fine of up to $5 per day for dog owners who fail to comply with the act.

Chris said he plans to take action under the Dangerous Dog Act and is also looking for a lawyer who will help him file a civil suit, based on the emotional suffering Melissa has endured since the attack as well as the scars she fears the bites will leave on her face.

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