Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dog Bites Ottawa Woman's Nose Off In Home Depot

ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency
OTTAWA - The elderly owner of a dog that attacked a Home Depot employee in Ottawa on Friday, leaving the victim's face disfigured, was charged by the city on Monday.

"As a result of the investigation, we were able to validate the bite did occur," said Susan Jones, general manager of emergency and protective services.

The shih tzu's owner — described by the victim as a woman in her seventies — will have to fork over a $610 fine and keep her pooch muzzled at all times in public.

"We take a zero-tolerance approach," to ensuring community safety, Jones said.

Anne Riel's face is disfigured after her nose was bitten by a shih tzu while she greeted its owner inside a Home Depot store last Friday.

The mother of two kids, four and 16, has worked as a greeter and sales associate for almost one year at the Ottawa store.

"He literally jumped up and bit my nose off. It was bleeding everywhere," Riel, 39, told QMI Agency.

Plastic surgeons fixed her nose with seven stitches. At least three more surgeries are needed.

"I'm happy with (the action against the owner), but then what happens to the dog?" Riel said Monday.

She wants the dog put down after the incident, which happened around 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Her shift was almost over and she had won a customer service award that morning.

The big box store has a no-pets policy.

But the rule isn't enforced and dogs are often brought inside the store, Riel said.

The attack was captured on video by the store's cameras, however, the company has yet to issue a statement.

The store's assistant manager on duty Sunday declined comment and referred comments to Home Depot's public relations department in Toronto.

QMI Agency's calls were not returned Sunday or Monday.

Signs reading "NO PETS (Except Seeing Eye Dogs or Service Animals)" are posted on the glass doors at the entrances and exits.

The shih tzu may be ordered to be destroyed.

"We haven't dismissed that yet," said Jones. "We're going to review the evidence and the injuries. We could very well proceed."

Riel returned to work Monday and said she's receiving a lot of support from colleagues and customers.


*www.torontosun.com