Shih Tzu’s owner says dog is not vicious despite bite

The owner of the Shih Tzu that attacked and disfigured a Home Depot employee’s face says she’s contesting the fine handed down by the city because she can’t afford to pay it.

“The little bit I do have, I’ll be needing forever,” said Odette Fournier, 65, who’s retired and living on a fixed income.

On Monday she was slapped with a $610 fine and ordered to keep her 12-year-old dog, Spot, muzzled at all times in public after bylaw officers investigated last Friday’s incident.

Anne Riel’s nose was bitten by Spot while she was working as a greeter inside an east-end Home Depot store.

Fournier said Spot has never hurt anyone before.

“I don’t think it’s a vicious dog. It’s just a pure, bad incident.”

The women aren’t strangers — for at least two years, they’ve seen each other around town.

“Her daughter, Gabrielle, has petted Spot before,” said Fournier.

Fournier said she’s not the one liable.

“I’m very sorry for her, but since it did happen in Home Depot, I think the Worker’s Compensation should cover it,” said Fournier.

Home Depot has a no-pets policy posted.

Despite the signage, pets are currently allowed in-store “as long as they’re under the control of their owners,” said manager of public relations, Tiziana Baccega.

“It has become socially acceptable to have dogs in stores. We’re looking at going back to a no-pets policy.”

They’re hoping to make a decision by Friday.

As for Riel, a single mother of two, she’ll need at least three more surgeries.

She has returned to work because she can’t afford to stay home.

For now, Riel isn’t being compensated for her workplace injury.

“There’s been no discussions around that,” said Baccega.

“She’s happily returned to work. There was no medical reason why she couldn’t so she chose to come back to the store.”

Riel told the Sun she was upset by the dog’s owner nonchalance after the attack.

“She never stopped to see if I was OK,” Riel said Sunday.

But Fournier said that just isn’t true.

“I felt sorry for her. I’m a human being,” she said.

“I asked the manager, ‘how is she doing?’”

Fournier said she’s appealing the muzzle order because she can’t find one small enough for a Shih Tzu.

Riel wants Spot put down.

And the city could decide to have the dog destroyed.

“It would be hard but if that’s the decision, that’s the decision,” said Fournier.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/04/19/shih-tzus-owner-says-dog-is-not-vicious-despite-bite

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