Wendy Sutton got back on her feet and resumed running after a vicious dog attack. She is pictured running with Art Beck as they complete the virtual Comox Valley RV Half Marathon. Photo supplied

Wendy Sutton got back on her feet and resumed running after a vicious dog attack. She is pictured running with Art Beck as they complete the virtual Comox Valley RV Half Marathon. Photo supplied

Vicious dog attack leaves Vancouver Island woman with broken arm

A Courtenay woman who was seriously injured by a dog spent 11 days in hospital after the dog attacked her during an afternoon walk March 2.

Wendy Sutton, who turns 75 on Thursday, was intending to walk the 6th Street East hill as part of her training regimen for the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon. She left her Cowichan Avenue home at about 4:30 p.m., and was attacked about a block away where a man was walking the dog. She did not know the man.

She said the dog lunged and pulled the leash out of the man’s hand. It grabbed her right forearm in its jaws and clamped down.

“I could see the dog’s teeth had bitten through my jacket and I was bleeding,” Sutton said. “I was yelling at the guy to get the dog off me and he was yelling at the dog. Finally, he got the dog to let go somehow. I collapsed onto the pavement.”

The man immediately phoned an ambulance and animal control. A couple of motorists stopped to offer assistance before help arrived.

Sutton was transported by ambulance to the Courtenay hospital. Doctors discovered the dog had broken the bones in her right forearm. She was sent to an orthopedic surgeon at the Campbell River hospital, and underwent surgery that night to have rods inserted to stabilize her arm.

She underwent a second surgery March 9 in Campbell River to remove the rods and have plates inserted.

“According to my surgeon, my arm bones are fine near the wrist and the elbow but are crushed in the middle of my forearm. The dog also bit my left thumb, so I only have the use of four fingers on my left hand.”

To her understanding, the owner had the dog put down. She also heard the man had adopted the dog two days before the incident, and had been told it wasn’t aggressive.

Although the breed of the dog has not been confirmed, Sutton said it was a pit bull.

“I have an issue with those dogs,” Sutton said. “This was a rescue pit bull. Why would you buy a rescue pit bull? They’re unpredictable.”

While the City of Courtenay cannot confirm anything specific about this case, it says dog attacks against people are rare in the community.

“Any dog attack would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis under the guidance of the city’s Animal Control Bylaw and the Province of B.C.’s Community Charter to ensure there is no ongoing imminent danger to the public,” said Kate O’Connell, director of corporate support services.

The bylaw requires all owners who bring dogs to a public place to be ‘competent to control the dog,’ for the safety of the animal, the owner and those around them. Training for the owner and dog can be an effective tool to ensure public safety.

Following her second surgery, Sutton received permission to walk the virtual half marathon over four days, after which she hung up the running shoes. Her exercise of choice is now walking or cycling.

“I decided at 75, it was time to retire from running,” Sutton said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Supplied photo of Wendy Sutton’s arm during surgery.

Supplied photo of Wendy Sutton’s arm during surgery.

Just Posted

Hamels Fabrics & Quilting is set to open on April 6 in Sooke. The shop is located at 2044 Otter Point Road. (Mark Martins/Pixabay)
Fabric and quilting store opens doors in Sooke

Shop is filled with all kinds of ‘bright, bold and cheery’ designs

Eli, left, Brent, Lindsay and Ava Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilson)
West Shore families share experience in raising a child with autism

Two families reveal some parallels, but circumstances are different for everyone

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

New hours went into effect at Saanich Parks and Public Works Yard for spring and summer seasons on April 6. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Spring, summer hours in effect at Saanich Public Works Yard

Residents reminded to practise social distancing, prepare to unload without staff help

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read