A Ponoka man that was attacked by two dogs last year is asking town council to increase penalties for dangerous dogs.
Frank Tschabold suffered numerous injuries after being bitten several times by a pair of dogs roaming at large along the Riverside trails last Aug. 29. He made an impassioned plea for council to make some serious updates.
He was invited to make a presentation by Coun. Kevin Ferguson after hearing about Tschabold’s story.
A still emotional Tschabold recounted the incident for council and asked administration on the miscommunication that has led to delays in having the charges laid in the attack and the dogs dealt with.
“While walking along the trails, I was viciously attacked by two pit bulls running loose,” he stated, adding he never before had any concerns on his walks over the years.
“I fought them for a couple of blocks, defending myself with my walking poles. After sustaining a number of bites, I sought assistance at a house I was passing by.”
The homeowner called 911, but the dogs continued to attack until the RCMP arrived and used pepper spray to stop them. Tschabold was taken by the police to hospital, while the dogs were captured and taken to Old MacDonald kennels. The dogs are still being held and the female has since had six puppies, with the cost of boarding the dog mounting by the day.
“I was literally in a fight for my life until the RCMP arrived and came to my rescue. I’m sure the outcome would have been different if I had not had by walking poles,” he added.
The effects of the traumatizing incident left him treating the wounds for months until they healed and the experience has left him emotional, while also wondering why this breed of dog is allowed in town.
As for the two young people who own the dogs, Tschabold is concerned with how the town has handled the charges and court proceedings to date — noting the town’s lawyer was only informed of the case and the application to destroy the dogs late in the afternoon the day prior to the first court appearance on Nov. 8.
Neither of the owners showed up and it appears the paperwork issued by the lawyer was incorrect. Trouble serving the owners has meant further delays, with the next court appearance set for March 14.
Tschabold realizes the bylaw is being reviewed, but feels it lacks the teeth necessary to act as a deterrent. He believes more stringent penalties, including fines up to $10,000, plus better organization and communication among all people and authorities involved in animal control are necessary to keep the public safe.
CAO Albert Flootman told council they will be looking into why there seemed to be a breakdown in communication between the RCMP, town staff and the lawyer.
He added the town is moving forward with the prosecution of the various bylaw offences against the two individuals as well as with the dangerous dogs act application, with destruction of the dogs being preferable.
Flootman also explained the bylaw review has been done with a draft having been gone over by the Police Advisory Committee, with Blackfalds’ bylaw being used as a basis.
“The fines are definitely a lot higher than in the old one, but it is certainly something we can take another look at,” he said.