Nova Scotia

Bitten woman urges ban on pit bulls

A Dartmouth woman is calling for a ban on pit bulls after she was bitten at a popular beach.

Halifax animal services says charges are possible

Kathy Martin points to one of the bites she suffered Monday evening at Martinique Beach after a pit bull that was off-leash randomly attacked her. (CBC)
A Dartmouth woman is calling for a ban on pit bulls after she was randomly attacked at a popular beach.

Kathy Martin was bitten on the face, ear, and neck by an off-leash pit bull Monday evening at Martinique Beach, a provincially owned park on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore.

She said she was in a grassy area near the parking lot when the dog lunged at her.

"I was on the ground and this dog was snarling and lunging at me and lunging at my neck and face," she told CBC News.

Martin was treated at a local hospital and released.

She said the attack came out of nowhere and she did nothing to provoke the dog. She feels the breed should be banned.

"If the dog is aggressive to begin with, then he never should have been off-leash. If it had shown no signs of aggression before then that's more of a statement for banning pit bulls, if they can just flip like that on you," she said.

Dogs at all provincial parks are required to be leashed. Owners who let their pets run free face a minimum fine of $167.71.

RCMP said the case has been handed over to Halifax Regional Municipality animal services.

Andrea MacDonald, manager of animal services, said the investigation is in the early stages.

"There will be potentially charges laid. We have been in contact with the dog owner, as well as the victim," she said Tuesday.

Investigators can give a warning, issue a ticket or seize an animal, which could lead to the animal being put down.

MacDonald said it's too early to know what will happen in this case.

Dog attacks

There have been 96 reported dog attacks in HRM this summer, and 17 of those involved an injury to a person or another animal, according to animal services.

Earlier this month, a child in Dartmouth was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a pit bull.

Last week, an off-leash dog attacked and killed a Jack Russell terrier. Police said the aggressive dog appeared to be a pit bull.

MacDonald said only six of the 17 dogs that caused injury were pit bulls or a pit bull mix.

"It all comes down to responsible pet ownership," she said. "As we've seen in the past, it's not just pit bulls that attack."

MacDonald said the number of dog attacks this summer are on par with last year.