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Handheld alarm ‘basically saved’ Courtenay woman’s life during dog attack

A dog attack happened near Harmston Park last week in Courtenay
A Courtenay man said this small, handheld Quorum alarm helped save the life of his wife, 86, last week during a dog attack. Photo by Erin Haluschak

A Comox Valley man is crediting a small handheld noisemaker for saving the life of his wife last week, after she was attacked by dogs while crossing the street in Courtenay.

Ken (who asked his last name not be used), an 87-year-old Courtenay resident, said his 86-year-old wife was coming back from one of her daily walks near Harmston Park between Fifth Street and Cumberland Road during the afternoon of March 6 when she was attacked by two German shepherd dogs who escaped from a nearby vehicle.

“She was crossing at the crosswalk on 6th Street when the dogs came at her, and she didn’t see them until they got her,” he explained. “One dog bit her on the thigh.”

Fortunately, his wife had a small, handheld Quorum alarm in the pocket of her coat - a 107db personal alarm with a pull pin.

Ken said his wife was able to activate the alarm just in time, which not only alerted nearby passersby but also the high pitched noise scared the dogs away.

“I don’t want to be dramatic, but if she didn’t have it, she wouldn’t be here. She was near the same corner where a daycare is, if kids had been out on a walk, (the situation) would have been disastrous.”

He added the dogs, which were in an unattended parked vehicle nearby, escaped through a canopy in the vehicle towards the park. One dog “took a huge bite on her thigh” on her right side and the other dog was in her face.

The attack knocked his wife, who uses a walker, backward and resulted in a lump on her head. Ken said doctors have examined her as she remains in hospital, but other than the bite on her leg, she appears to be okay.

“She’s been carrying the alarm for about a year, and it basically saved her life,” he said and noted the inexpensive alarm was brought to their attention by a friend who suggested his wife carry it.

Anne Guillo, manager of communications for the City of Courtenay said while staff typically do not comment on specific bylaw enforcement incidents, she did confirm bylaw enforcement had not yet been directly contacted regarding this event.

“We are aware RCMP responded … bylaw investigations may be undertaken in response to complaints or observations from City staff, or other agencies such as the RCMP, in addition to complaints received from the public.”

The Comox Valley Record has reached out to the Comox Valley RCMP but has not yet heard back as of press time and is waiting to confirm the status of the dogs.

Ken is unsure as to when his wife will return home but confirmed that although she is bruised, she is able to walk.

“We’re taking it day-by-day; I think everyone near a park with dogs should have (an alarm) and make sure the string (pull pin) is on the outside. Everyone should be aware and have protection.”

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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