A pit bull belonging to a man well-known to police attacked three people in less than an hour as it went on a vicious rampage through North Surrey in the summer.
On Aug. 19, at about 5:30 p.m., a man was gardening when the black pit bull with white spots jumped his fence and bit his hand. Somehow the gardener was able to shake the dog off.
Forty-five minutes later, the dog then ran to another property and bit another man. That victim was able to get a can of bear spray and repel the dog.
Just then, Lilli Leung was heading home, walking down the 13100 block of 107 Avenue at about 6:15 p.m.
Suddenly from around the corner, the pit bull appeared.
It leapt up, attempting to bite Leung in the face, but she was able to block it with her left arm.
She was unsuccessful in knocking the dog away, and the animal kept a lock on her arm.
“It happened so fast and caught me by surprise,” Leung said Monday. “The pit bull was instantly vicious and began to repeatedly attack me; it was trying to bite my face. It stood on its two back legs and began to bite onto my left arm.”
As it latched on to her left arm, she grabbed her purse with her right arm and attempted to pound the dog off.
It was so powerful, Leung lost her footing and fell, and the animal powered forward, pushing Leung into a hedge.
All the while, Leung was screaming for help.
She saw a teenager jump from the second floor of his home and run toward her, yelling for his dad to send more help.
A neighbour ran to her, throwing shoes at the pit bull, causing it to let go of her arm.
Police arrived to find the pit bull in the back of its owner’s truck.
At first the owner – a 32-year-old man who is well known to police for drug and property crimes – said he was looking after the dog for a friend. Then he acknowledged it was his.
The pit bull has since been euthanized.
But Leung is concerned because the man also owns a white pit bull, which she fears could be just as volatile as the first.
She sees him bringing that dog to the nearby school to pick up his kids, so she let the school know about the potential problem.
Leung wonders what a man like this is doing with such dogs.
“He’s not doing the dogs any favour,” Leung said.
In the late 1990s, Surrey replaced its breed-specific dog bylaw with legislation placing the onus for safety on owners.
The current bylaw is silent on the capability of barring owners from owning pets.
Mayor Dianne Watts, who as councillor advanced the new bylaw in the ’90s, said there should be provision for keeping certain people from owning dogs.
That said, she doesn’t think the city has the authority to make such a determination unless Surrey applied for a judicial order.
Watts reiterated her reluctance to ban an specific breeds, including pit bulls.
“The people that are irresponsible, that want to breed and raise vicious dogs, they will just change to a different breed,” Watts said. “It’s the people that have care and control of the dog that need to be held responsible.”
Watts will be checking with the city solicitor to see if there is any way the other dog can be removed from the owner’s care.