British Columbia

Dog owner says she was left bitten and bloody after attack by 3 pit bull mixes at off-leash park

A Surrey, B.C., woman says she's been left injured after being attacked by three pit bull crosses while trying to protect her dog at an off-leash park. Monika Piaseczna is also mourning her mother's dog, which ran from the scene of the attack and was later found dead.

Monika Piaseczna says she was shielding her small dog; her mom's dog fled the scene and was later found dead

Monika Piaseczna, 28, and her family dog Bentley. Bentley fled from the scene of the attack on May 15 and was later found dead. (Monika Piaseczna)

A Surrey, B.C., woman says she's been left injured after being attacked by three pit bull crosses while trying to protect her dog at an off-leash park.

Monika Piaseczna, 28, is also mourning her mother's dog, which ran from the scene of the attack and was later found dead.

The incident happened at Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey on Friday afternoon, where Piaseczna says she and a friend had taken four small dogs — including Malcolm, her Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross, and Bentley, her mother's 11-year-old Chihuahua mix — for a walk. 

Piaseczna was taken to hospital with puncture wounds and scratches to her buttocks. 

Although she says she loves dogs, Piaseczna wants stricter laws that hold owners accountable and require larger dogs muzzled in public to prevent attacks like this.

'Full-on attack mode'

Piaseczna said she and her friend had just closed the gate after entering the park's off-leash area when an unleashed dog she identified as a pit bull cross approached.

She described the dog as being in "attack stance."

She said she picked up Malcolm, who growled as the larger dog and two others of a similar mixed breed approached. She said she then set down Malcolm, who was leashed — and that's when the three dogs pinned the small Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross to the ground.

Piaseczna said she yanked Malcolm's harness to pull him free and picked him up again, trying to turn her body to shield him.

That's when the three dogs turned on her.

Bentley, left, and Malcolm before the attack at Tynehead Regional Park on May 15. (Submitted/Monika Plaseczna)

"I can hear the dogs jaws closing trying to bite. At that point it was just chaos," she said.

"They were in full-on attack mode. I was screaming."

She said she heard the attacking dogs' owners yelling, trying to help, as all seven dogs barked.

Piaseczna says she kept trying to push one of the large dogs away with her hip, at which point that animal bit her buttocks.

She said a stranger had to help pull off the dog that had sunk its teeth into her, but she isn't sure that was the only dog who bit her. 

"There was blood everywhere. I didn't know what happened. All I could hear was ripping clothes," Piaseczna said.

Tetanus shot, antibiotics

The owners of the three dogs appeared to be a man and a woman, who offered her identification.

Witnesses said the pair asked if Piaseczna and her friend were OK, and moved the dogs away to calm the situation as soon as they got them under control by grabbing their collars.

"I think they were in as much shock as us," said Piaseczna.

Her friend, Jessica Shoemay, 29, said the incident was horrifying, and described her friend as traumatized.

Surrey RCMP and an ambulance were called and paramedics took Piaseczna to hospital. She was treated for her wounds, given a tetanus shot and prescribed antibiotics.

Her family shared photos of her in bloodied sports pants, and images of the deep punctures and angry red scratches on her backside.

"People say, 'Oh, don't worry, my dog is friendly, my dog is friendly,' but you just never know," said Piaseczna.

She wants the owners of the three dogs that attacked her held accountable.

"I'm not saying 'kill these dogs.' I'm a dog lover and I would never act like it's the dog's fault," she said.

"I would just like to make sure this doesn't happen again. If I had a small child or an elderly person with me they could have been seriously hurt or killed."

A daylong search for Bentley ended when he was found dead by a road in Surrey, apparently hit by a car. (Monika Piaseczna)

During the melee, Bentley ran off, apparently in fear. A day-long search for her mother's dog ended sadly when it was found dead by the road, believed hit by a car.

RCMP confirmed they were called to the incident, but the file has been taken over by Metro Vancouver Regional District, which has jurisdiction over the park.

Metro Vancouver said an investigation into the incident is underway.

"Metro Vancouver is working with the Surrey RCMP as well as animal control and will determine the appropriate follow up actions pending conclusion of the investigation," a spokesperson said. 

"In the immediate term, staff patrols and public education efforts have been increased in the area. Dog owners are reminded to be courteous of others and to keep a close watch on their pets at all times."

Surrey's bylaws define a vicious dog as one that caused serious injury to a person or animal without provocation or has on more than one occasion caused a minor Injury to a person or animal. 

About the Author

Yvette Brend is a CBC Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@CBC.ca @ybrend

With files from Meera Bains

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