A Courtenay woman refused to let a violent dog attack stop her from completing a half-marathon.
On March 4, Wendy Sutton, 75, was out training for a half-marathon, near Ryan Road and Cowichan Avenue, when saw a man with a large dog on a leash.
Then, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, the dog beamed towards Sutton, ripping the leash right out of its owner’s hands.
“It was so fast,” Sutton recalled.
The next thing the 75-year-old knew, the dog had managed to grab her forearm.
“Something triggered the dog and the dog just lunged and grabbed my forearm,” said Sutton.
According to Sutton, the dog’s teeth were locked into her arm — causing bones to be mashed in her right arm — until the owner pried its jaws away. She also suffered wounds to her left thumb.
“The dog owner was just so upset he was the one who phoned the ambulance and animal control right away,” Sutton said.
Two surgeries later, Sutton is still recovering from her injuries. Sutton’s running partner, Leslie Dargie couldn’t believe the violence of the attack.
“Shock, I could not believe it could happen,” said Leslie Dargie.
Yet, the attack didn’t stop the retired teacher from finishing what she had been training for.
Wrapped up in bandages, with rods and pins through her arm, Sutton managed to finish the Comox Valley half-marathon on Sunday.
“I thought at 75, I can run/walk it,” she said.
Completing it over four days, race officials agreed to count her total as one run — ending Sutton’s running career on the day she’d always planned, but with a lot more healing than anyone expected.
Sutton says she later learned the owner surrendered the dog, a rescue that was a known aggressive breed, to be euthanized.
“He’d only had the dog for two days, he’d been assured the dog was not aggressive,” she said.
Sutton is now urging those looking to adopt a pet, to know exactly what breed they’re taking on.
“I question the sale of pets and people owning dogs that have the power to crush a person’s arm,” she said.
CHEK News was unable to reach anyone from the City of Courtenay’s animal control department to confirm whether the dog had indeed been euthanized.