Owner leaves scene after pit bull attacks couple’s dog

Owner leaves scene after pit bull attacks couple’s dog

Chloe continues to heal after being attacked by a pit bull recently in Oliver’s dog park. Even her owner was bitten during the fray. Trevor Nichols photo
Chloe continues to heal after being attacked by a pit bull recently in Oliver’s dog park. Even her owner was bitten during the fray.  Trevor Nichols photo
Chloe continues to heal after being attacked by a pit bull recently in Oliver’s dog park. Even her owner was bitten during the fray. Trevor Nichols photo

A local couple is looking for answers after they and their dog were attacked by a pit bull in Oliver’s dog park on October 27.

Colleen and Steve Holmes say a pit bull viciously attacked their dog Chloe, unprovoked, and that its owner did nothing to stop it. Even worse, the owner left with her dog after the incident without so much as a “sorry.”

Around 9:30 a.m. the Holmes brought Chloe, a two-year-old Wheaten Terrier, to the off-leash dog park (in the ball diamonds area).

According to Colleen, things took a nasty and frightening turn almost immediately.

She explained that when she and her husband arrived at the park they saw a middle-aged woman with dark hair and a pit bull at the far end. She didn’t think anything of it until she opened the gate to the park and the dog took off towards them, not barking or growling or snarling; just running. Fast.

Without hesitation it leapt at Chloe, digging its teeth into her face and head, nearly taking out her eye.

“He just grabbed her right away, right by the head—no warning, no nothing. It was pretty scary,” Colleen recalled.

That’s when Steve jumped in, grabbing the dog by the collar and ripping it away from Chloe. He doesn’t remember exactly how, but somewhere along the way he ended up with three puncture wounds in his forearm.

“I was really afraid for [Chloe] so I just reached in and when I reached across he kind of got me,” Steve said, demonstrating his actions with both hands. “I was able to pull him off, but he managed to get me.”

The couple said that as the attack was happening the dark-haired woman began screaming at them, swearing and berating them for not looking before they entered the park.

Steve said once he managed to separate the two dogs Colleen took Chloe back to the car, and he began approaching the woman, but she took her dog and left the park, not even checking to see if Chloe or the Holmes were okay.

Because she was too far away neither of them got a look at her face, and because they were still somewhat in shock they didn’t think to follow her or take down her licence plate number.

Now, the couple is left with more than $300 in vet bills for Chloe’s injuries and the knowledge that a dangerous dog is still “on the loose.”

“It’s kind of frustrating because we can’t identify this person,” Steve said.

Colleen said she has been talking with other dog park users and there is one pit bull at the park from time-to-time that has caused trouble on other occasions.

Almost anyone you talk to at the park seems to know of the dog, and vaguely recognize its owner,  but no one seems to know who they are or where they live.

On November 13 Marion and Gary Trimble were at the park with their dog. They say they had a run-in with an aggressive pit bull whose owner wouldn’t let them into the park until his dog was finished.

Another owner said he had seen the pit bull “playing way too hard” with some other dogs a while back, and that others have had “scary” run-ins with it.

Diane Vaykovich, Oliver’s corporate officer, confirmed someone did file a complaint of a dog attack within the last few weeks, but they did not leave their name or identify the victims or dog owner.

No other recent dog attacks have been reported, she said.

Carol Sheridan, manager of Oliver Parks and Recreation, said that while there have been a few dog attacks in the dog park over the years, her department hasn’t had any recent complaints.

She said there has been some attacks in the past few years, and that when it happens victims should report the attack to a bylaw officer.

It’s been more than two weeks since the Holmes were attacked, and Chloe is recovering nicely from her injuries. She had some drainage tubes, a cone and stitches for a while, but Colleen said aside from a few bare patches of fur you would hardly know she was recently attacked.

But Colleen is still a little shaken.

“It just stays with you,” she said. “I’m pretty nervous now when I’m walking. Anytime I see a dog loose I just about panic.”

She said she carries her camera around with her now, hoping to catch a glimpse of the dog owner so she can snap a picture and maybe have her brought to justice.

“I’ve got people looking too, most people in the park are looking for this lady. Because no one wants this to happen to their dog,” she said.

By Trevor Nichols


  1. We call this “Pit-and-Run”. This is what is considered “responsible ownership” of these pit fighting maulers that have been bred for generations to have a high prey drive.

  2. This happens dozens of times a day EVERY DAY of the year across the USA. Pit bulls, bred to kill each other in dog fighting pits over 200 years ago in England, certainly do NOT belong where true pet dogs play…a dog park. Actually, pit bulls do not belong in society. Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states of the USA and pit bulls have NO OTHER USE. BAN pit bulls and save lives and limbs of fpeople and animals.

  3. MERRITT CLIFTON, journalist, Animals24-7 editor

    There are very few people, if any, who have written more on behalf of dogs over the past 40-odd years than I have, or spent more time down the back alleys of the developing world observing dogs in the habitats in which normal dogs came to co-evolve with humans.

    But appreciation of the ecological roles of street dogs & coyotes, exposing dog-eating and puppy mills, opposition to indiscriminate lethal animal control, introduction of high-volume low-cost spay/neuter and anti-rabies vaccination, introduction of online adoption promotion, encouraging the formation of thousands of new humane societies worldwide, etc., are not to be confused with pit bull advocacy.

    Pit bull advocacy is not defending dogs; it is defending the serial killers of the dog world, who kill, injure, and give bad reputations to all the rest. Indeed, pit bull advocacy, because it erodes public trust in dogs and people who care about dogs, stands a good chance of superseding rabies as the single greatest threat to the health, well-being, and human appreciation of all dogs worldwide.

  4. Pit bull OWNERS are just as deviant as their dogs…narcissists seeking to shore up their identity with “big bad dogs”….. operating from the point of view that the world revolves around them…everyone else be damned. I live in the U.S. where it is legal to carry firearms..and I do… and if this beast had come charging toward me/my dog, it would now be dead… and I carry bear spray for the deviant owners….

  5. Most dog attacks are caused by pit bulls. In addition, someone dies approximately every 18 days from a pit bull attack.

    When these dogs attack, the victims are responsible for their injuries in total, unless they take the perpetrator to court.

    We need laws to protect ourselves, our pets and our livestock.