February 19th, 2020

Close call in another bullmastiff incident

By GILLIAN SLADE on August 23, 2019.

Rufus lies on the examining table at the veterinary clinic. He is still too swollen to determine the full extent of his injuries after being attacked by a bullmastiff in Crescent Heights a week ago.


Less than a week after little Rufus was attacked by a bullmastiff in Crescent Heights there has been another incident with a bullmastiff in Medicine Hat.

Suzanne O’Connell was taking her dog on leash for a walk along the river path on Wednesday when a large bullmastiff came charging through the trees, she said.

“He was about to put his mouth on our dog’s neck, so I scooped up our pet. The bullmastiff would not move out of our path until the owner called it back,” said O’Connell. “The owner was on the shore of the river bank and did not come up to inquire about her dog.”

O’Connell was surprised by the bullmastiff’s owner’s lack of concern about the situation.

On Aug. 15, Rufus, a miniature doberman pinscher, was left fighting for his life after being attacked by a bullmastiff in Crescent Heights when he was on leash going for a walk on a sidewalk.

Rufus has seven deep puncture wounds, three broken ribs, a shoulder broken in two places and a few molars ripped out of his mouth. The owner, Keith Keller, says the swelling is hampering efforts to determine the full extent of his injuries. He is still on antibiotics and other medications. He needs help to walk and help to go to the bathroom.

The bullmastiff in this case was the neighbour’s. Keller, who has two small children, is worried for their safety.

The dog was not seized by bylaw because the owner was at the location at the time of the attack, the acting superintendent for bylaw has told the News.

It has also been impossible to get certification of the shots the bullmastiff has had even though a bylaw officer has been involved.

O’Connell raises the question about whether the city has adequate bylaws to protect pets and people.

“Mr. Keller’s unfortunate experience points clearly at the city’s need to revisit the pet bylaws and enforcement. We need to refresh our response on how to better keep families and beloved pets safe in our community,” said O’Connell.

The owner of the bullmastiff that attacked Rufus was charged with “Animal Running at large, Animal causes injury to another animal, and Animal bites another Animal,” said bylaw’s acting superintendent in an email to the News.

The veterinary bill for Rufus continues to mount and Keller has little hope of recovering this from the bullmastiff’s owner.

Bylaw does not get involved in costs incurred from a bite, it is considered a civil matter.

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