Puppy dies after being savaged by pit bull on Vancouver seawall

Feb 3 2017, 10:19 pm

The owners of a Yorkshire Terrier puppy named Ben say they are devastated after he was killed by a pit bull on the seawall in Vancouver.

Barbara Siqueira and Rob Rijvers said they were walking 13-week-old Ben on a leash near George Wainborne Park in Yaletown on Saturday, January 28 at about 5 pm.

“Ben was smelling the grass, running because he was extremely excited and happy,” Siqueira told Daily Hive.

“He was such a calm dog, adventurous and curious, sure, but also very calm,” said Rijvers. “He was young and so innocent… Just happy, you know?”

As they walked, Rijvers said, they saw a couple with three white dogs, that they believe to have been pit bulls, also on the seawall.

A woman was holding two younger dogs, while a man was holding an older, bigger dog, Siqueira said.

They thought nothing of it, said Rijvers, until they encountered the same couple and the three dogs again a little later.

The two younger pit bulls and Ben were eager to “meet,” so both sets of owners allowed them to get to know each other, said Rijvers.

The other, bigger dog also seemed excited, said Rijvers, and Ben went over to meet him too.

‘He was bleeding out of his mouth’

Within two seconds, Rijvers said, the pit bull had Ben in his mouth.

The man holding the pit bull pinned the dog down and Rijvers put his hands on the dog’s neck, he said. Eventually the dog let go of Ben, but he was brutally savaged.

“He was bleeding out of his mouth, he was struggling to breathe, it was really intense,” said Siqueira.

“I had him in my arms and I looked at him and he was limp, he was going into shock, and I thought, ‘We gotta go,'” said Rijvers.

Rijvers said he heard the woman apologizing as he held Ben in his arms, but all he could think of was getting him to the vet and trying to save his life.

Tragically, the vet found Ben’s lungs, diaphragm and intestines had been punctured, and he had bruising all over. The puppy died within a few hours.

‘They should be held accountable’

Ben, the puppy, in happier times (Barbara Siquiera)

Ben, the puppy, in happier times (Barbara Siqueira)

Now, Siqueira and Rijvers are sharing their story in the hopes of finding the pit bull’s owners and raising awareness of the issue of pit bull attacks.

In their rush to take Ben to the vet, they didn’t stop to get the pit bull owners’ information, but they have since reported the attack to Animal Control.

“I don’t think the [owners] have any clue that Ben has passed on,” said Rijvers.

“Pit bulls are renowned for being unpredictable, and they weren’t muzzled and they should be,” said Siqueira. “They should be held accountable for this.”

Siqueira says she doesn’t want others to have to go through this and wants Vancouver to consider making a bylaw to ensure certain breeds of dog are muzzled.

Pit bulls are considered aggressive or dangerous dogs in Richmond and West Vancouver. Rijvers doesn’t understand why this isn’t the case everywhere.

“It’s been proven over and over again in the past that these animals are not predictable and they have taken little children’s lives, not just other animals,” said Rijvers.

‘He was such an innocent dog’

Ben the puppy (Barbara Siquiera)

Ben the puppy (Barbara Siqueira)

Siqueira and Rijvers had only had Ben for a month, but he had already made a big impact on their life – and now he’s gone.

Siqueira says she’s haunted by images of the attack playing over and over again in her mind.

“He was such an innocent dog, he was a baby. He could have had a chance to enjoy his life – he was so loving,” said Siqueira. “When you picked him up, he’d just lie down on your chest and look in your eyes.”

“It’s horrible, he doesn’t deserve this, and I feel so bad.”

Rijvers said he been taking Ben to work with him every other day, now he has relive the whole attack all over again as he explains what happened to everyone who met Ben.

“We are just gutted… I can cry at any second if I wanted to, I want him back so much,” said Rijvers. “I’ve lost my boy, we’ve lost a member of our family.”

A City of Vancouver spokesperson confirmed they are investigating the attack. If found at fault, the pit bull’s owners could face fines, and the dog could be euthanized.

The owners of the pit bull are described as in their mid-40s/50s, both dressed in sport clothes. The woman is believed to have brunette/black hair.

Anyone with any information about the attack is urged to call the City of Vancouver on 311, quoting reference 17-179224.

Ben the puppy sleeping (Barbara Siquiera)

Ben the puppy sleeping (Barbara Siqueira)