Owners of both dogs involved in a viral video, involving one dog attacking another, have come forward to set the record straight.
The incident involved an adult German shepherd and a six-month-old Shih Tzu-Yorkie cross.
Lyle Kennedy, who owns the puppy, said he initially posted the video to social media because after exchanging phone numbers with the owner of the shepherd he discovered it was the wrong number. At first Kennedy believed it was intentional but he said he has since been able to get in contact with the other dog owner.
“She said they were expecting our call and apologized for giving us the wrong number,” Kennedy said. “They said they’re willing to help with the costs as much as they can. The situation has kind of been blown out of proportion on social media. I just wanted to find the owner to see if they could help with the bills.”
Initially, veterinarians in North Battleford suggested euthanizing Kennedy’s dog Finn but that simply wasn’t an option in his mind.
“They were talking about putting him down but that’s just so hard for us to do because this dog is like one of my kids,” Kennedy said. “I am looking at all options that I can get. They said it is possible to go for surgery but it will be expensive. I said ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to fundraise for the money in order to get the surgery if it will benefit him.’”
Finn is currently being examined by veterinarians at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon to see if surgery is an option.
The video was taken by Kennedy’s wife who wanted to film the puppy’s first time at the dog park. According to Kennedy, the family had recently watched kennel club shows on TV and saw the dogs running around different obstacles. His family knew the local dog park had similar constructions and wanted to see if Finn could run them.
A video that was supposed record a joyful moment could potentially be the final moments of Finn’s life.
“Since this was his first experience at the dog park she wanted to record the dog interaction,” Kennedy said. “She thought it may have been a friendly gesture [as the other dog approached]. So she recorded it and just happened to catch the attack on video.”
The owner of the German shepherd, who asks to remain anonymous to avoid any social media backlash, attempted to contact Kennedy as soon as she saw the video on Facebook this morning. She has been in touch with Kennedy and was extremely apologetic.
“I am so sorry this happened and I feel so bad for this poor puppy and the family,” the German shepherd owner said. “My dog has never shown signs of aggression like this. He socializes with smaller dogs often and has never acted out like this. I have told the puppy’s owner I will help with vet costs as much as I possibly can.”
The shepherd's owner added it was her boyfriend who was with the dog at the time. She said in the commotion of the attack he must have written down the wrong contact number as only one digit was off. She insisted it was not an intentional act at all.
Concern over off-leash parks
Michelle Spark, the Battlefords Humane Society Coordinator, said she feels really bad for both parties in this incident. She admits though, unmonitored off the leash parks like the one in North Battleford are begging for these types of attacks.
“I personally would never take any of my dogs to a dog park,” Spark said. “There is nothing regulating them and there is nothing keeping them safe. Any clients whose dogs I train I tell to stay away from dog parks. People let their dogs go and they sit and visit with their friends and no one is watching what is going on with the dogs and that’s how accidents like this happen.”
Spark believed incidents like this should be blamed on the dog park itself and not necessarily the owners or the dogs. She actually defended the German shepherd, saying it was bread to be a herding dog and that’s essentially what it was doing.
“That is their job. It’s to chase,” Spark said. “He was doing what he was naturally and instinctively bred to do. How do you take that away from him? Should he have been trained better to stay by his owner’s side? Yes. But does that mean he shouldn’t have been at the dog park? No.”
When asked if separating small breeds from big breeds at the park would help, Spark replied it should have been done already but admitted it isn’t necessarily a solution. According to the coordinator attacks can still happen and it puts owners in a tough spot if they have multiple dogs of varying sizes. In those cases it would force an owner to bring a second person or only bring one size of dog at a time.
The best alternative to dog parks according to Spark are “doggy daycares.” She said they may cost money but it is worth it. Daycares are fully monitored by trained staff who know how to work with all the different temperaments of dogs. There currently isn’t one in the Battelfords right now but, Spark hopes to open one up when the Humane Society expands in the future.
The only other option Spark supplied was socializing dogs with others owned by friends and family. She added no volunteers at the shelter are allowed to take any of the dogs being housed to the dog park.
Below is a video of the incident. BattlefordsNOW would like to warn viewers of its graphic content.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins.
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