A Home Depot worker in Ottawa whose nose was partly bitten off by a small dog she was greeting says she's considering legal action against the dog's owner.
Greeter Anne Riel says she was nearing the end of her shift Friday at the Cyrville Road store when she approached a customer who was pushing a Shih Tzu in a shopping cart.
When Riel bent down to pat the dog, the animal lunged at her, sinking its teeth into her nose, she said.
"I said hi," Riel said as she recalled how the incident began. "I hand out flyers, so I handed her a flyer. I pet the dog."
"No sooner had I slightly bent down … [but] the dog bit my nose with its entire mouth. I had my eyes open, I closed them — the dog's in my face what seems like an eternity and the gush of pain."
Co-workers called an ambulance and tried to stop the bleeding. Riel said that while paramedics looked after her, the dog owner tried to leave the scene. A paramedic stopped her.
Plastic surgeons realigned and stitched up Riel's nose, but she'll need more surgery since a small part of her nose is missing.
Bylaw officers have reviewed Home Depot's surveillance tape and the 74-year-old owner will be charged under the Animal Control Act.
The owner faces a fine of at least $600 and could be forced to euthanize the dog.
"This is quite serious, the fact that an individual has been bitten and they're likely scarred for life," said Susan Jones of the city bylaw services.
Bylaw officials investigate more than 350 dog bites a year in Ottawa, with most incidents involving small dogs.
"Now I'm going to find a lawyer because I'm not letting her get away with that," Riel said. "I'm hoping the dog's going to be put down."
The 39-year-old mother of three said she's relieved a child wasn't bitten.
"I'm happy it was me and not my little girl. We pet dogs all the time. There will be no more petting dogs we don't know from here on in."
Riel said she hopes her experience shows the public that it's not just certain kinds of dogs that can become aggressive.
"Please, please understand it's not only the pit bulls and German shepherds and the big dogs that are nasty," she said. "The small dogs can be just as nasty and that's what's deceiving."
Although a sign on the Home Depot's main door says No Dogs, the store does permit dogs as long as they're leashed and under control. That policy is now under review following Friday's incident.