Dog mauling victim learning how to use a fork again

A B.C. man brutally mauled by two dogs is still recovering in an Alberta rehabilitation hospital a month after a bloody Christmas Day attack in his Fort St. John trailer home. Meanwhile, Fort St. John is pushing for a crackdown on the owners of dogs who maim.

As Robin Elgie recovers, his home town pushes for crackdown on the owners of dogs who maim

"I got to carry on," says dog mauling victim a month after a bloody Christmas day attack by two dogs in his Fort St. John home. (CBC )

A B.C. man brutally mauled after two dogs burst into his Fort St. John home on Christmas Day is learning how to use his fingers again.

"I got to carry on," Robin Elgie, 66, told a CBC reporter over the phone from his hospital room at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton. "I feel quite well, considering."

'Like a shark attack'

RCMP in northern B.C. said Elgie was close to death when officers arrived at his blood-splattered trailer December 25 and found two dogs biting and chewing on the senior's arms.

"It was like a shark attack," Elgie later told CBC News.

Elgie was cornered after the dogs ran into his home, killed his cat, and attacked his partner, Wendy Lee Baker. Elgie was airlifted to hospital in Edmonton, 600 kilometres away. Doctors initially thought Elgie might lose his hands and arms to amputation. 

In the month since the attack, Elgie has endured five surgeries and started physiotherapy. He's slowly regaining the use of his fingers and can now hold a fork and feed himself.  

"The fingers are coming along good. but it takes time to get the mobility back," said Elgie.  He still needs help getting dressed and can't yet use his thumbs. He sleeps in a hospital bed, where his bandaged arms rest on thick blue cushions.

Town pushing for crackdown on dog owners

As Elgie's recovery continues, his home town city council is pushing for a crack down on the owners of dogs who maim. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says council will push for a new law allowing dog attack victims to get compensation for their injuries from the dogs' owners.

"It's really about responsible pet ownership, and ensuring the dog is under your control," said Ackerman. She notes that the law in B.C. doesn't allow municipalities to hold dog owners liable. 

RCMP have released few details about their investigation into the mauling incident and have refused to identify the breed of the dogs that attacked Elgie. 

Elgie has told CBC News the dogs that attacked him were pit bulls. But Fort St John's city bylaw department says the dogs were, in fact, American bulldogs, a breed commonly mistaken for pit bulls.

About the Author

Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener is an award-winning journalist and author. She's been covering the news in central and northern British Columbia for more than 15 years.

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