Leaside family mourns 10-week-old puppy after dog attack at Serena Gundy Park
Cleo the puppy was born on March 1
A Leaside family is dealing with the loss of their 10-week-old puppy killed during a dog attack at Serena Gundy Park on Wednesday evening.
Lana Novikova said she was out for a stroll with her boyfriend, her 12-year-old daughter, their puppy, Cleo, and their five-year-old Cockapoo, Cooper, when they happened upon another couple out walking a dog.
“Cooper went to introduce himself and the dog just attacked Cooper and started shaking him,” Novikova said. “I realized it wasn’t a game, so we managed to pull the dog from Cooper.”
Novikova said she checked her dog for injury while her boyfriend tried to convince the couple to put the leash back on their dog. Her daughter held their puppy Cleo nearby.
“While we were handling that, the dog turned around and attacked my daughter,” she said. “He grabbed the puppy, and shook the puppy. My daughter got scratched pretty badly, and the puppy died of a broken neck.”
The family is heartbroken over the loss of Cleo.
“We just had her for two weeks. She was born on March 1. She was super cute. She was such a beautiful, amazing dog,” Novikova said.
Her daughter is recovering from a deep scratch on her arm that required five stitches.
Dennis Pal, Novikova’s boyfriend, insisted the dog’s apparent owners did not try to intervene during the fray.
“They never tried to restrain the dog. They just stood there and watched,” Pal said.
Pal took a photo of the couple as they left the scene and has warned other dog owners to be on alert for a white, American Bulldog in the area. The family shared their experience online on social media, and community members were quick to help try to identify the couple.
Two witnesses have alleged the couple in this photo (by Dennis Pal) were present with the dog during each attack.
When Rozeena Khote, of North York, saw the photo of the couple online, she said she recognized them from an incident with her own dog and quickly contacted the Novikova family.
“I recognized them right away, both of them were there when my dog was attacked,” Khote told Post City.
Khote said she had visited the off-leash area at Sunnybrook Park on May 1 around 3:30 p.m. when her one-year-old Samoyed, Samus, was attacked.
“The dog was hiding underneath a bench and lunged and attached himself onto my dog’s back left leg,” Khote said. "It continued to bite him, and wouldn’t let go. My dog cried out, and I was just watching in horror as my dog was being attacked by this dog. The owners did nothing. Luckily my husband, who was closer to the attack, was able to get their dog off my dog. He had blood all over his fur.”
Animal Services confirmed they are investigating both incidents.
According to the City of Toronto website, if a dog attack injury is severe, or there is a prior record, the owner could be served with a Dangerous Dog Order that may require them to muzzle and leash the dog, obtain training for the dog or prohibit the dog from entering a designated leash-free area.
In the meantime, Khote has cautioned other dog owners in the area to be careful.
“I’m in shock,” she said. “After hearing about what happened to Lana and her daughter, and the puppy too, knowing they’re still out there, it just scares me.”