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'It was just really fast': Dog bite leaves Claresholm, Alta. girl with 16 stitches in her face

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An 11-year-old girl from Claresholm, Alta. is recovering after being attacked by a dog last Thursday.

The animal has already been put down but the victim and her mother say there’s an important lesson for all dog owners.

Isabella Chiasson was waiting for her piano lesson to start last Thursday and was greeted by her instructor’s daughter’s dog, Bentley, but this interaction was far from anything she had ever experienced.

“I sat down on the bench and Bentley greeted me so I pet him, then he jumped up sort of halfway on the bench and then he bite my face,” explained Chiasson.

“It was just really fast. I remember standing up and screaming and then everyone rushed to me and we rushed to the hospital.”

Isabella needed 16 stiches in her face and also suffered a bite wound on her wrist. The attack has left her shaken up, and with some advice for all dog owners.

“If your dog shows aggression toward anything, put it in behavioral classes or put it down if it bites someone,” said Chiasson.

Despite the horrific experience, Isabella says she's actually grateful it happened to her and not someone else.

“If it was a kindergartener or someone who’s not dog-savvy, then they wouldn’t have known what to do and they probably would have just froze,” Chiasson described.

“I certainly don’t blame anyone either, it’s just a bad thing that it happened because it could have been avoided.”

Isabella's mother, Kristin Butler, says it wasn’t the first time Bentley had been aggressive with children.

“I did have three other parents reach out to me with similar incidents,” she said.

“One kid had to kick the dog in the face because the dog was lunging, the other kid got growled and lunged at and then the third one is actually her best friend, and he got bit on the arm and there’s a mark on his arm still.

Bentley’s owner would not appear on camera but told CTV they had the dog euthanized on Friday. One dog owner in Claresholm says attacks like this highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership.

“Sometimes things need to be done to protect the public, especially if a little girl is hurt, that’s never a good thing to hear about,” said Claresholm resident Brittany Steed.

“I just wish that dog would have been in better hands maybe.”

Both Isabella and her mother say the response from their community has been outstanding. They've received flowers, gifts and food, and they want to extend a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who has supported them.

“We are really grateful for everyone in the town that’s supported us,” said Butler.

“It was a tough decision to even talk about all this, but we wanted to advocate for dog owners because we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

The Town of Claresholm has a bylaw in place for aggressive dogs. It states, “The owner of an alleged aggressive or dangerous dog, shall surrender the dog to the animal control officer immediately and the dog shall be held pending the outcome of the investigation and/or a provincial court hearing.”

In this case, Bentley’s owner had him euthanized before an investigation was conducted.

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