Sarah Metzner

Pit bull attacks paper carrier

Dog wouldn’t let go of 15-year-old girl’s hand.

A teenage newspaper carrier was still waiting for corrective surgery Wednesday, almost a week after what was thought to be pit bull tore into her left hand.

Sarah Metzner, 15, was delivering papers along 117th Avenue, near Thomas Haney secondary last Friday, when she was attacked by the dog, which tore through a screen door to get at her.

Sarah was walking up the sidewalk to deliver the paper and heard the dog inside. She hesitated, but then heard the owner say from inside, that was it OK.

After placing the newspaper, Sarah walked back towards the street. That’s when the dog attacked.

“She had turned away and the dog came through the screen. It latched on to her left hand and it locked,” said her mom, Kelly Sullivan.

“She screamed and the neighbours came running.”

The person taking care of the dog tried to pull it off Sarah by grabbing its hind legs.

Neighbours then restrained the dog so it couldn’t do any more damage and someone brought a chair over for Sarah to sit on, positioning the dog behind her.

“At first, I was really, really scared,” Sarah said.

But help soon arrived. She wants to thank police and her neighbours for what they did.

The moments after the attack were frightening, Sarah added.

“It was worse afterwards because I could hear the dog behind me, but I couldn’t see him, so I thought he could get back at me and get me again, but I think I did OK.”

Her mom said Sarah’s recollection of the event is sketchy because of the trauma involved.

Sullivan was driving a TransLink bus at the time in Port Coquitlam and only heard on voice mail, with her daughter screaming.

She had to piece together the events based on what neighbours said.

Sullivan said when police arrived, one officer cut the dog’s throat, but that had no immediate effect. Police then tried to pry open the dog’s jaws with a baton. Eventually, it lost too much blood and died.

However, RCMP Cpl. Alanna Dunlop said police did not stab the dog, a two-year-old pit bull.

“The first member on scene was able to pry the dog’s mouth open using a baton.

“There was no knife used at all.”

The blood on the scene was from the victim’s injury, she added.

Dunlop said a muzzle was then put on the dog. At some point, afterwards, the dog died, but she didn’t know the cause, adding the SPCA would know that.

“What she went through was an extremely traumatic experience.”

Kelly, who didn’t see her daughter until she was in Ridge Meadows Hospital, says she lives in a close-knit neighbourhood.

“They all just came running and everybody was there for her, and I can’t thank them enough,” she said, her voice choking.

Throughout it all, her daughter was as strong as could be.

“From all accounts I heard from the police, neighbours and everybody else, she was amazing. She was very calm.”

Sullivan said that dog owners have to recognize the breeds they have, and act accordingly.

“Whether a dog bites or is aggressive depends on the owner’s willingness to train or teach the dog … so they don’t feel the need to resort to aggression.”

On Wednesday, Sarah was still waiting for surgery.

Doctors wanted to wait to see if infection set in.

The dog had to be exhumed to see if had been vaccinated for rabies.

Sullivan is not certain what will happen to her daughter’s hand, which has a crushed bone, puncture wounds and torn palm. “We don’t know. Until the surgeon takes a good look, we don’t know.”

 

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