The great-grandmother of a boy who was attacked by a dog on the grounds of a Toronto school late last week says she is shaken by what happened.
“We were all panicked,” the woman said.
Global News agreed not to name her, out of privacy concerns for the teen. She said she received a call Friday evening and learned the boy had been taken to hospital after being bitten by a dog.
“This child was bleeding all over the place,” she said.
“I felt so bad for him and his mom. How could this have happened?”
Toronto police said the incident was reported to them Tuesday night. They were told that a 14-year-old boy had been bitten on the lip on May 12 at around 6 p.m. by an unaccompanied dog in the park at Rawlinson Community School.
Story continues below advertisement
The boy was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“I just wanted to sit down and cry because it was so terrible,” the great-grandmother said.
A letter sent to parents and guardians at Rawlinson Community School in St. Clair West Village warned attacks out of school hours ranged from mild to “very severe in nature.”
Parents were told that some people in the local community were apparently using the school yard as an unofficial off-leash dog park on evenings and weekends.
“I would like to urge all families to exercise extreme caution when in the vicinity of the school yard outside of school hours,” the Toronto District School Board letter said, adding that some of the incidents had been reported to Toronto police and animal services.
“We want to keep the area safe for kids and I think one of the biggest challenges, particularly in this neighbourhood, is that dog owners are having to use school property and it puts the kids at risk,” said Cathy Mitchell, a parent of two boys who attend Rawlinson Community School.
East End Toronto neighbourhood ‘terrorized’ by dog
Alexis Dawson, TDSB Trustee for Ward Nine said she is aware of the incident and is pushing for more greenspace.
“Davenport is the most greenspace-compromised part of the city so naturally the greenspaces that are accessible do have this problem and there have been reports of increase attacks from dogs,” she said.
“But this incident is by far the worst.”
The great-grandmother said the boy has been released from hospital and is recovering.
“He’s doing a lot better. He knows he is going to heal and it’s going to take time,” she said. “The swelling has gone down immensely but he’s still bruised … He can’t eat properly.”
She said she wants dog owners to keep pets off school property so that incidents like this don’t happen again in the future.
“This is not a place where you should have dogs,” she said.
Toronto Animal Services is aware of the incident and Toronto police said the investigation is ongoing; the dog and dog owner have not yet been located.
– with files from Global News’ Isaac Callan
Toronto Humane Society highlights resources for pet parents in need