'Good Samaritan" clarifies dog attack; calls for city action
The Good Samaritan credited with saving a young girl and her puppy after a dog attack in Millennium Park on May 19 is clarifying his perception of the incident and calling for a policy shift to better protect park/playground users.
Chris Talbot, 42, said the attacking dog was an unneutered, Pitbull-type dog (one of the biggest he’s ever seen) and he most certainly didn’t save anyone from it.
“I didn’t have any effect on that dog at all,” Talbot said. “He didn’t even look at me.”
Talbot said the incident began when he brought his kids to Millennium Park.
“The attacking dog was on a retractable leash with its care person sitting at a picnic table adjacent to the kids’ playground area (the care person was with a friend who had a young child and who was also throwing a stick for a separate, lab-type dog),” he said.
At this point, a 13-year-old girl and her two siblings, aged five and six, came up the path walking their Lab puppy, at which point the Pitbull bolted, and the young woman caring for it lost control of his leash.
“The Lab did nothing to provoke an attack,” Talbot explained. “The attacking dog rolled the lab and luckily ‘locked’ onto its front foot. I rushed my kids into our vehicle and ran to the scene. I’m a big guy and I’m in Taekwondo. I delivered about three or four hard kicks to the side of the attacking dog’s head, then realized that it wasn’t letting go and that this may cause even more damage to the Lab’s foot.
“I then delivered approximately 10 full-strength kicks to the ribs of the attacking dog, to no avail. After about eight minutes of the attack, the last bit of which I simply called 911 and described the scene while police were dispatched, the attacking dog finally released just before the police arrived.
“The 13-year-old girl was bitten on the leg during the attack (I didn’t see when or by which dog), the lab’s leg was pretty torn up, and the 5 year old’s pants had blood on both knees.”
Talbot said recounting the incident isn’t abut blaming any dog or owner, but rather a call to city officials to have a conversation about how to prevent a recurrence.
“I’m not criticizing bylaws, or council, or enforcement, and I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m hoping they’ll start asking the question, and consider something else (other than the status quo),” he said, adding his concern is not a breed-specific one.
“Again, and I think this is important, I’m a big and fairly strong guy. If I had kicked an adult to their side like I kicked that dog, that person would likely have difficulty breathing for weeks. That dog ‘locked’ and only IT could make itself ‘release’. This attack happened less than 30′ from the playground, resulting in six kids extremely upset as witnesses to a pretty scary attack. Considering the size of the attacking dog, if the lab had been a smaller, terrier type (for example), we’d have been picking up pieces, guaranteed. If it had turned on a small child, I would have had to see if I could kill that dog, bare handed – I hope I never have to find out if I would succeed.
“Our family loves that park – But we have been approached rather quickly, numerous times, I repeat, numerous times, by off-leash dogs of all sizes, mostly large ones. I always step in front of my children because you never know (I’ve met very unfriendly lab type dogs) and usually get a rude response in return about being ‘over protective’.”
Now, his hope is that the City of Castlegar will consider a range of solutions, from increased enforcement to providing more off-leash venues, with the end goal of reducing the chances of this ever happening again.