No report, no investigation into dog attack on Penticton boy - InfoNews

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No report, no investigation into dog attack on Penticton boy

Interior Health says emergency department personnel at Penticton Regional Hospital must report stabbings and shootings, but not dog bites.
June 13, 2019 - 6:00 AM

PENTICTON - Local authorities say they have no reason or mechanism to begin investigating dog attacks without a formal report and in many cases, they expect to not even be informed about dog attacks.

Nearly two weeks after a vicious attack by the family dog put a Penticton baby in hospital, no official report has been filed of the incident to the RCMP, SPCA, Penticton dog control nor Interior Health and none of the agencies has claimed responsibility for investigating.

According to several eyewitnesses at a crowded Penticton Regional Hospital emergency room on the evening of May 31, a baby was brought into the emergency department suffering from dog bites to the face. Several of those witnesses who spoke to also say they heard the dog described as a pit bull. The family involved hasn’t spoken about the incident and hasn’t confirmed those accounts.

One account of the incident is contained on a crowdfunding site started on behalf of the family involved several days later. It said the young boy was attacked by the family dog and was airlifted for Vancouver for treatment. The post solicits donations to help the family, including a toddler brother who witnessed the attack, to recover.

The family has also disputed the accuracy of that account but hasn’t identified those inaccuracies. In an interview published this morning, they told Castanet the dog was put down but refused to disclose the breed of dog. 

It appears we may never have an independent account of what happened.

Interior Health communications officer Haley Allen says emergency staff at the hospital are required to report stabbings and shootings, but not dog bites. Allen says parents or patients are encouraged to report such incidents to police or the SPCA.

“As to the May 31 incident, due to privacy reasons we aren’t able to discuss patient’s medical history,” she said.

The SPCA doesn’t investigate dog bites or attacks, that falls to Penticton pound keeper Elizabeth Bigg who says without a file, her office can’t act.

“I don’t have a file. This hasn’t been reported to me,” Bigg said this morning, June 12. “In a scenario with a dog bite within the home, it often goes unreported. If it were reported, what I would require at the very least is an address, a name, to go and see if the story is truthful.”

"It sounds like it is, I don’t know,” she added. "The neighbours haven’t come forward, the owners haven’t come forward.”

Bigg said the incident does fit the description of a dangerous dog, but without it being reported, “there’s not much I can do.”

She said she would like to think the family will ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“I don’t even have the family’s name to contact them,” she said. “It’s scary. If it was reported, there’s definitely a lot more I can do.”

Penticton RCMP spokesperson Const. James Grandy says the detachment never received any report of a dog biting a person on May 31.

He says generally reports of dog bites are forwarded to the local animal control authority for follow up.

“The fact is, if no one reports it to us, we aren’t involved,” Grandy said.

— This story was updated at 7:13 a.m. June 13 to include new information published by other sources.

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