After an attack on their dog, Ucluelet visitors are hoping a dog owner will step up to help pay the medical bills.
Bob and Lori Atfield were on a casual walk on a trail at Amphitrite Lighthouse with friends and their 20-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever, Loki on August 15 when the attack came.
"Loki has a very friendly demeanor and has not one mean bone in his body... he is a 94-pound ball of love," said Bob Atfield.
They came across a man walking what appeared to be a long-legged Newfoundland cross, a big curly-coat black dog
with a blaze of white on its chest.
"The man stepped aside and knelt beside the dog to hold him, seemingly to allow us to pass by. As we approached, the dog lunged, dragging its handler to the ground and grabbing hold of Loki's body," Atfield said.
"I had Loki on leash and tried to manoeuver myself between the attacking dog and Loki to avoid a fight and in doing so likely saved Loki's life...the attacking dog had missed his throat and bitten his chest instead, a small mercy but no less severe," he said.
Loki sustained 4 puncture wounds deep into his chest which were mere centimetres from his jugular, Atfield said. "To make matters worse, at no time, did
the owner give any verbal warning that his dog was aggressive or dangerous, for if he had, we would have retreated back down the trail from where we had come,
to avoid any conflict. He only stayed beside his pet and held the dog's collar," Atfield said.
"The man kicked the dog several times, finally subduing it by sitting on its' back and forcing the head down into the soil," he said.
The Atfields got their dog back to the safety of their car, only to discover the extent of their dog's wounds. They didn't get the other dog's owner's information, but they called the RCMP, and were told they don't investigate dog-ondog assaults.
They did receive a call from the District of Ucluelet, expressing concern for the dog's welfare and the need to discuss the matter with authorities.
"This is an extremely dangerous canine and it causes us grave concern that other family pets are in danger. Even worse, with such a vile temper, what damage could this dog inflict on a child?" Atfield wondered.
So far the family's vet bills exceed $800. Surgery was required to repair damaged tissues in his chest.
They are hoping the dog's owner will step up and take responsibility for his dog's actions, Atfield said.