The mother of an 11-year-old Thunder Bay boy bitten on the face by a dog on the weekend says the painful incident was one that didn't have to happen.
Samantha Mekanak said no one should ever take a dog to a children's park without a leash.
'I didn't know what else to do but cry.'—Samantha Mekanak, mother of dog-bite victim
It required 65 stitches to close the wounds on her son Dante's face after the weekend incident at Tarbutt Park in Westfort.
While waiting for a friend at the park, Dante jumped into the boarded rink to run across to the other side to greet a friend. As he started running, a dog knocked him down and bit his face.
It was "kind of a blur after that" for her son, but Mekanak recalled that friends rushed to her home to tell her what happened, and an unknown neighbour who saw Dante going home after the attack called 9-1-1.
"When he came walking up that road I didn't know what else to do but cry," she said. "[He was] cut open [on] both sides of his mouth ... right eyebrow ... punctures on nose [and the] ... inside of [his] upper lip [was] cut open.
"It's really upsetting that the owner didn't stay ... [it was] hard for us ... [Dante] had to walk a whole block to get home."
Dog owner faces charges
Dante had to have rabies shots. And, due to the the swelling around his mouth, he cannot eat solid food.
The owner of the dog that attacked a boy on the weekend now faces a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Thunder Bay Police spokesperson Julie Tilbury said the negligence charge is because the 56-year-old man allegedly failed to remain at the scene. They have not released the man's name.
"Dog owners are reminded that they are responsible to stay and render assistance whenever their animal is involved in an altercation with another person," Tilbury said.
"Failure to do so could result in a criminal investigation, alongside the investigation that would normally happen with animal control."
Thunder Bay’s manager of licensing and enforcement said his staff needs to identify which of several dogs that were in the rink were involved in the attack.
"If the dog is identified as the aggressor, we have the authority under the dog owner's liability act to seize the dog immediately, and we're avidly investigating this matter today," Ron Bourret said.
The dog owner is expected to appear in court on Dec. 13.