A Halifax couple had to put down their five-pound Chihuahua, Eugenie, who was struck with a lawn sign and critically injured on Monday evening.
Natalie Wilson said 10-year-old Eugenie was on the fenced-in front porch of Wilson's Davison Street home when the dog barked and there was a smashing noise shortly after 7 p.m.
Wilson said when her husband Lorne went outside, he saw a man had taken a wooden sign from their lawn and thrown it at Eugenie.
"Eugenie was laying on the deck. My first thought was that she was not alive anymore," Lorne Wilson said.
He noticed the lawn sign, which asked passersby to please keep their dogs off the lawn, and said he quickly put two and two together.
Wilson confronted the man, who then threw the other lawn sign at him.
"He was very agitated," Lorne Wilson said. "It escalated very quickly as I was also very agitated. At that moment, to me, Eugenie was gone. And I was inconsolable."
Hearing the commotion outside, Natalie Wilson picked up their other dog, a three-year-old male Chihuahua named Hudson, and went to see what was going on.
Wilson said while her husband followed the man and his dog, she called police and attended to Eugenie.
"I was holding her. She was not moving at all," she said. "I was holding her and she started moving and all of a sudden — blood everywhere."
Lorne Wilson said he and a few neighbours followed the man until police arrived.
Halifax Regional Police said they arrested a 36-year-old Halifax man, who is facing charges of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and injuring or endangering an animal.
He is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on Nov. 21.
"He changed our lives forever," Lorne Wilson said. "I can never forgive him for that."
Choice to put down Eugenie
Eugenie's jaw was smashed and the veterinarian told the Wilsons the dog's eye may need to be removed.
"There was not really a choice. They said if she's going to live after surgery, she's not going to be able to swallow, so there's no way she'll be able to have food and she'll be suffering," Natalie Wilson said through tears.
"I loved her so much that I don't want her to suffer. They just sedated her and she went to sleep and that's it. It's over."
She said while her other dog, Hudson, wasn't injured in the attack, he's "in pain" from the loss and hasn't left her side.
'I just cannot understand'
Wilson said her dogs bark when other dogs walk by, but that's no reason to harm an animal.
"But to kill the dog for barking? And they were locked so they cannot run away — you know, just call us or call police or do something, like, civil, right?"
Wilson said she is grateful to police who rushed her and her dog to an animal hospital and even called ahead so staff were ready to receive the injured animal.
The city's animal services took possession of the suspect's dog, according to police.
"I just cannot understand — and he has a dog," said Natalie Wilson. "Can you believe someone's doing this damage to another dog and he's supposed to be a dog lover?"
Support from neighbours, strangers
Both Lorne and Natalie Wilson say they're grateful to their neighbours for stepping up to help, and for the compassion shown by the Halifax police officers on scene.
Natalie Wilson said on Tuesday evening a stranger even brought flowers to her family's home.
She said she was "overwhelmed" by that small act of kindness.
"Eugenie deserves that love," she said.