The elderly owner of a dog that attacked a Home Depot employee was charged by the city Monday.
“As a result of the investigation we were able to validate the bite did occur,” said general manager of emergency and protective services, Susan Jones.
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 location on Cyrville Rd. in Gloucester.
“He literally jumped up and bit my nose off. It was bleeding everywhere,” Anne Riel, 39, told the Sun, who first reported the story Sunday.
Plastic surgeons fixed her nose with seven stitches and 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-pet policy.
But the rule isn’t enforced and dogs are often brought inside the store, Riel said.
The incident was captured on video by the store’s cameras, however, the company has yet to issue a statement.
The Gloucester store’s assistant manager on duty Sunday declined comment and referred the Sun to Home Depot’s public relations department in Toronto.
The Sun’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.
While I am in sympathy with Ms. Riel’s injury, I do not believe, in this instance, that the dog should be put down. It is common knowledge that you neither pet a strange animal nor put your face anywhere near its face, no matter the size of the animal. I have too often seen both adults and children run unhesitatingly up to dogs of all sizes and breeds, even when warned off by owners, and have been filled with dismay at such behaviour. Ms. Riel stated, “I petted her dog and as I slightly bent my head towards the dog…”. If Ms. Riel had been minding her own business and had then been attacked by the animal, she would definitely have a case; however, in this case, she must assume some responsibility, as must Home Depot–is it a rule about other-than-service dogs in the store, or a suggestion?