The owners of a pit bull that was stabbed to death after it attacked a pug in Kitsilano are defending their dog, and demanding the man who killed it be held accountable for his actions.
The roommate of Samantha Fairbridge, the dog's owner, was walking the six-year-old pit bull named Pandora near Kitsilano Pool around 1 p.m. on Wednesday when a small, white, dog approached off-leash, Ms. Fairbridge's sister Amy said. Shortly after, a black, off-leash pug came up "barking and jumping at [Pandora]," Amy Fairbridge said.
"What was a brief interaction with another dog all of a sudden turned into two strange dogs that are not on their leash, and so it escalated," she said. "Pandora felt threatened, as any other dog, no matter the breed, would have felt in that case. Pandora was the only dog that was being restricted by a leash at that moment."
Police say the pit bull then bit and latched onto the pug's neck. However, the woman walking Pandora, who wrote down what happened as soon as she got home, said Pandora bit the pug's ear – not its neck.
The pug's owner, a 72-year-old man, ran toward the dogs, and along with Ms. Fairbridge's roommate, tried to free the pug. The man then opened up a pocket knife and "put down the pit bull," Vancouver police Sergeant Randy Fincham said.
Neither police nor the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has taken over the investigation, could comment on how many times the man stabbed Pandora, saying a necropsy this week will determine that. But the roommate told the Fairbridge sisters the man stabbed the dog multiple times, allegedly shouting, "You hurt my dog! … You deserve to die," Amy Fairbridge said.
"By the time he had stabbed her twice, she was falling on the ground and his dog was free," Ms. Fairbridge said. "At this point, there is no threat left to his dog. Pandora is dying. But he continues to stab her over and over again, until Pandora is bleeding to death."
The man took his pug to a veterinary hospital, where it had minor surgery to repair "multiple small puncture wounds" in its neck, Sergeant Fincham said. Animal control took the dead pit bull to the B.C. SPCA, which will perform the necropsy and determine whether animal cruelty was involved in the case.
"At law, it's only an offence if an animal suffered… ," said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA. "For instance, if the dog died instantaneously, then there would be no offence.
"Another important element will be interviews with the animal owners and any witnesses to determine what exactly transpired, because there is, of course, the defence that the person was simply defending either themselves or their property."
Vancouver has no breed-specific bylaw, unlike Burnaby, which includes pit bulls in its definition of vicious dogs. Owners in Burnaby face more restrictions, pay more for licences and face larger incident fines.
The Fairbridges, who are now coping with the loss of a dog they have had since it was a puppy, say they understand the man's instinct to protect his dog, but question why the stabbing allegedly continued after the dogs had separated. Amy Fairbridge added that Pandora had never before been aggressive with another dog or human, and had played with her young daughter since she was a toddler.
"She was like the runt of the litter, the smallest pit bull you will ever see," Amy Fairbridge said. "Knowing and living with this dog, seeing it care for my daughter, from the ages of one-and-a-half to three, gives me a really good idea about the temperament of this dog."