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Dog owner pressing charges after bite

By Hannah Scott (Local Journalism Initiative reporter) and Lorraine Graves

Published 10:34 PDT, Wed September 23, 2020

James Rai was walking his Rottweiler in Richmond this week when another dog charged towards them and lunged.

While Rai, 28, needed stitches on his right leg, his dog Rocky escaped unscathed. The Monday night incident wasn’t the first altercation between Rocky and the other dog, who Rai guesses is around the same size and probably mixed-breed.

Back in August, the same dog approached Rai and Rocky on the soccer field at DeBeck elementary.

“This dog came, off-leash, charging towards us,” says Rai. “He was at one end of the park and came all the way to where we were.”

Rai says when the dog approached them, it started to growl, but the owner eventually caught up and put a leash on the dog. The park is an on-leash area. 

Rai says since the first incident, the two dogs appeared to have an ongoing rivalry with each other. But on Monday, the situation escalated.

“I always walk my dog after dinner, around 6:30 p.m.,” Rai explains. “We take the same route every time.”

In the middle of their walk, Rai and Rocky were on a small residential street near the intersection of Blundell and No. 4 roads. They passed by the house where the other dog lives, and saw the family outside with the dog. When they turned the corner, Rai heard yelling and barking coming from behind him.

“We turned around and saw that dog charging at us, from his house to the area where we were,” says Rai. “He came at my dog and lunged and barked.”

Despite attempts to alert the owners, Rai says they didn’t show any urgency when trying to hold their dog back.

“He was on a leash, but they didn’t hold him back,” says Rai. “I was pulling my dog away, walking backwards trying to avoid the dog that’s lunging at us. The only thing I saw fit (to do) was to try to gain more distance by trying to push the dog away.”

When he stuck his leg out, Rai says the dog bit him. He says it wasn’t until that point that the owner managed to grab and control the dog. He says witnesses were also present, but none stopped to pull the dog away. Rai says the owners offered to clean up his wound, but he says Rocky was still in defence mode and wouldn’t let anyone near him.

“I had my dog completely under control,” says Rai. “He’s a Rottweiler—if he’d managed to bite that dog his jaw would have locked, and as an owner I would have been in trouble for maiming a dog.”

Rai called 911, spoke with police, and then was transported by ambulance to Richmond Hospital where he received stitches and a tetanus shot. Following the incident, Rai reported the incident to the city bylaws team and has decided to press charges. 

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