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Vicious attack sends Coquitlam service dog to emergency surgery

Family of Charlie, a female lab, says animal was bitten by another dog at Harbour View elementary school in Coquitlam
dog attack coquitlam
Charlie is feeling better after getting into an altercation with another dog at Harbour View elementary this week.

A Coquitlam woman says her service dog is lucky to be alive after being viciously attacked by another dog at Harbour View elementary last weekend.

Alexandra Marinets said she was taking Charlie, her female lab, for a walk Friday when another animal ran toward Charlie and grabbed on to her chest with its teeth and would not let go. Marinets, who was with her son and her husband at the time, said fortunately her pet was wearing a vest, but she still sustained serious injuries and had to be taken to the emergency veterinary clinic in Langley.

“The harness was bitten right through,” she told the Tri-City News.

Marinets said her son had to take Charlie’s vest off to free the animal before the owner of the attacking dog was able to restrain their pet.

“There was no warning,” she said. “The dog ran toward Charlie and attacked right there.”

Marinets is asking pet owners to make sure they are in control of their animals when they are at the park or out in public, particularly if their animal is aggressive.

As a service dog, Charlie provides Marinets with more than just companionship. The animal helps her stay mobile, carries medications and assists her with stability when she is walking up and down stairs.

She added that while she has trained Charlie since the animal was a puppy, a new service dog can cost upwards of $70,000.

For now, Charlie, who had emergency surgery following the attack, appears to be convalescing nicely. However, Marinets said she may require additional training to ensure she remains calm when Charlie sees other animals in public.

“They have to be okay with other dogs passing by and ignoring them,” she said. “When she is working in public place, she has to be full attention on me.”

The Coquitlam Animal Shelter has investigated the incident and told Marinets that the owner of the attacking dog is willing to pay for Charlie’s medical bills.

Still, Marinets said she is concerned about dogs that attack other animals unprovoked and hopes that the owners of aggressive animals do better at restraining and controlling their pets.

“I am not anti certain breeds,” she said. “I love dogs of all breeds. But if a dog attacks once, the question is not if it attacks again but when it attacks again.”