Waswanipi, Quebec boy mauled by dog at local playground
Local authorities have given dog owners 48 hours to tie up their pets
Officials in the James Bay community of Waswanipi in northern Quebec are promising to deal with the number of stray dogs in the community, after a 6-year-old boy was mauled by a dog over the weekend.
The boy, Abel Icebound, says he didn't do anything to provoke the dog when he was swinging and sliding at a local playground on Sunday. But the animal attacked, and Abel needed 11 stitches to his face.
"I had so much anger, so much anger as soon as I saw him," said the boy's father, Michel Icebound, after rushing to the local clinic.
"When I saw his face, he was crying."
Stray dogs running off-leash, often in packs, is a familiar and long-standing problem in many northern communities.
Waswanipi passed a bylaw in 2013 that requires pet owners to keep track of their animals. But the community's deputy chief says enough is enough, and has given people 48 hours to tie up their dogs.
"I take this issue very seriously," said Mandy Gull. "If someone does not have their dog tied, then we will bring in animal control people to do something."
A community meeting held Monday to talk about wellness quickly turned to concern over the dog problem.
Gull says residents must become part of the solution.
"I will be asking for help from the outside, an organization may come into our community, where they can rescue some pets, or do with them as they will need to do," she said.
Michel Icebound went to the community meeting to encourage people to become more responsible pet owners.
"I think there are too many dogs in the communities and a lot of people don't really care for their dogs," he said.