Calgarian who was hospitalized for weeks after dog park knockdown encourages others to exercise caution
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 4:16PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:41PM MST
A 58-year-old Calgary woman is warning other off-leash dog park users to remain aware of their surroundings as she continues her rehabilitation from an October incident.
Heather Smith was walking a friend’s miniature dachshund in a dog park in the southwest community of Roxboro on the afternoon of Thursday, October 18 when she was upended by a pack of dogs running free.
“It happened so fast. It felt like getting hit by a truck,” recalled Smith. “I just remember going up in the air and coming down.”
Smith did not realize the full extent of her injuries until others park goers tried to help her to her feet.
“They tried to lift me and as soon as they lifted me, I didn’t even have weight on it, I just screamed,” said Smith. “I screamed bloody murder. I knew right away because I looked down and the kneecap was over where it shouldn’t have been.”
An ambulance transported Smith to hospital and the stay lasted 20 days. The injured woman had screws inserted to hold the top of her tibia in place and her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was replaced with an ACL collected from a cadaver.
She now wears a knee brace and continues to undergo regular physiotherapy sessions as part of her rehabilitation.
Owners of dogs that are involved in situations where someone, or another dog, is injured can be charged at the discretion of City of Calgary bylaw officers and the offence carries a fine of $300.
“In a dog park we expect the owners to maintain control of their animals,” explained Mel Parkinson, Calgary Community Standards' northeast sergeant. “They need to be able to have a clear line of sight of their dogs and be able to recall them at a moments’ notice.”
Smith hopes her unfortunate experience serves as a reminder to others to take care. “You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings. I thought I was but obviously I wasn’t when these dogs hit me.”
She says she is not seeking compensation and does not want the owners of the dogs charged.
With files from CTV's Bill Macfarlane