Police find dog suspected in Vaughan attacks
A German shepherd allegedly responsible for attacking three people in Vaughan has been seized and quarantined, York Regional Police announced Thursday.
Investigators have also identified the dog's owner, a 41-year-old North York man, after an appeal for information about his whereabouts attracted at least one tip from the public.
Police said the attacks occurred within minutes Wednesday, starting at 8:40 a.m. when a man entered a convenience store at 80 Glen Shields Ave. and left his 100-pound German shepherd untied outside.
The dog first attacked 16-year-old Helen Zhu as she walked to school, resulting in bite marks to her left shoulder.
"I was really shocked and scared. I think my head just sort of went in all sorts of directions, but then I felt the pain," Zhu said.
Moments later, the dog mauled a 66-year-old man as he entered Flower Convenience. The man required more than 20 stitches for wounds to his arm and face.
Less than five minutes later, a 41-year-old woman was entering the convenience store when the dog grabbed at her clothing. She avoided the dog and wasn't injured, police said.
The dog owner left the store with the German shepherd before police arrived, resulting in Wednesday's plea for information.
Det. Cont. Alex Samitz of York Regional Police said investigators later received a tip about the whereabouts of the dog suspected in the attacks.
Police spoke to a man at a residence Thursday morning and found his German shepherd in the backyard, where the dog lunged at officers but didn't bite them, Samitz said.
Samitz said the North York man is facing charges under Vaughan's bylaws and Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act.
Zhu was pleased to learn the owner is facing charges.
"If he had kept the dog on the leash maybe … me or the other people (wouldn't) have gotten hurt," Zhu said.
An emergency room doctor told Zhu she was fortunate to escape the ordeal with minor injuries.
"The bites are very shallow," Zhu said. "Only a few of them punctured the skin because I was wearing my (winter) jacket and I also had my backpack on."
In response to the incident, police are warning people not to approach dogs that aren't on a leash or to use a parked vehicle or a fence as a barrier if an unleashed dog approaches.
Police recommend people stay still and back away slowly, and avoid looking the dog in the eyes or running away.