Montreal

After brutal dog attack, Eastern Townships woman is slowly regaining her strength

Dominique Alain's injuries were extensive: she had to be resuscitated in hospital, and lost muscle, tendons and tissue in both of her arms and legs. But she is getting stronger.

Dominique Alain and her partner welcome province's proposed amendments to tighten rules around dangerous dogs

Doctors believe Dominique Alain's active lifestyle has helped make a challenging recovery a little bit easier. (Submitted by Leo Joy)

Nearly two months after being mauled by three dogs, Dominique Alain remains in hospital, gradually regaining the use of her limbs.

On Wednesday, she will undergo her 10th procedure — a skin graft — since the attack on the evening of March 29 while jogging near her home in the Eastern Townships.

Her injuries were extensive: she had to be resuscitated in hospital, and lost muscle, tendons and tissue in both of her arms and legs.

Gradually, though, she is getting stronger. Her partner, Leo Joy, said they are hopeful she will be transferred to a rehabilitation centre by the end of the month.

"Doctors here are encouraged. We think it's because of her athletic ability before this happened that she's able to do what she's been doing," he said in an interview with CBC's Breakaway.

"She's already started a little bit of physical therapy, just in her arms."

Joy said Alain will need prosthetics when she returns home. He has consulted with an architect about making adaptations to their home in anticipation of her return.

"There's no question were going to have to make some modifications," he said.

The three mixed-breed dogs had escaped from their home in Potton, Que., and attacked Alain as she was jogging down a country road.

They were euthanized after animal-protection authorities assessed their behaviour. The SPA de l'Estrie, an animal protection organization, found them to be aggressive and presented a "very serious, and perhaps deadly, risk to the population."

The dogs' owner hasn't been charged.

New rules welcomed

Joy said he was "encouraged" by the Quebec government's move to tighten regulations for dangerous dogs.

The proposed changes, outlined in a bill tabled last week, will give Quebec municipalities a set of rules and the flexibility to adopt stricter ones if they see fit.

Dominique Alain's partner, Leo Joy, left, with Reginald Gauthier, who launched an online funding campaign for Alain. Joy said their house will need to be adapted for Alain's return. (Radio-Canada)

If passed into law, dog owners would have to register their animals, ensure they're wearing a collar and are on a leash when in public.

There would also be strict rules covering inspections and seizures, with penal provisions for those who disobey the law.

"We think that's a good step forward and it's also something that needs to be embraced by dog lovers and dog owners," Joy said.

"We hope that the province and the municipalities will help to enforce those laws."

In one respect, however, Joy said the new provincial regulations won't go far enough.

"Dominique and I both feel there should be an addition: owners of dangerous dogs should be required to have liability insurance before they are allowed to register those dogs," he said.

Based on an interview with CBC Quebec's Breakaway

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