An Ottawa man who intervened during a vicious dog attack over the weekend says the city needs to do more to stop aggressive dogs.

Chris Reed used a shovel to hit one of the dogs, as they mauled a young woman out for a walk

It happened Saturday morning in Orleans near the corner of Lamoureux Drive and Des Epinettes Avenue. Why these dogs were loose or who owns them are questions police are still trying to answer. 

Some residents are looking for answers, too, as to whether enough is being done to deal with aggressive dogs after two horrific attacks this summer.

Chris Reed knows smoking isn't good for him but this is one time he's glad he stepped out a cigarette break Saturday morning.

“Partway through the cigarette,” says Reed, outside his Orleans home, “I could hear a woman yelling “Oh my God, Oh my God, oh my God.”

Reed ran down the road to check it out and saw two dogs mauling a woman.  He grabbed a neighbor's tiny shovel for defense.

“I got about this far away from them, they were probably just in this area here,” he says, pointing to a grassy area near the street, “and I started banging my shovel on the ground hoping it would spook them.”

It stopped one of the dogs, who then charged at Reed.

“As he got close, I came around with an overhand shot to the head and it sounded like I hit a rock, it was that loud and that hard.”

When Reed struck one of the dogs, it distracted the other dog and gave the woman a chance to jump into a nearby vehicle.  He says the driver of that car then tried to run the dogs over.”

Police and paramedics arrived quickly after that. Another man, who had first come to the aid of the woman, had been badly bitten.  Both he and the 25-year-old woman were taken to hospital where she still remains.  The dogs were shot. Their breed hasn't been identified though witnesses say they looked like pit bulls.

Just last month in Vanier, a 50-year-old woman mauled by her daughter's dog, also believed to be a pit bull type of dog.

Claire Laroche wonders what it's going to take to put better teeth in our laws.  Her therapy dog Nellie was attacked a few months ago by two pit bull type dogs that had already attacked several other dogs.  She reported it to the bylaw office, along with the names and numbers of the witnesses, but says nothing came of it.

“My background is investigations,” says Laroche, her dog Nellie patiently sitting by her side, “investigations mean following up with the person who filed the complaint.  None of that happened.”

The city is investigating the Orleans attack and still searching for the owner of the dogs.  A situation Chris Reed says could have been a whole lot worse.

“I don't think a child would have survived the attack,” he says, “which is really scary.”

According to Roger Chapman, the city’s chief of bylaw and regulatory services, there are about 450 dog bites each year in Ottawa.  In 20% of those cases, warrant charges are laid.  The city says only 2% of the cases involve pit bull type dogs.

“This leads us to believe that problematic dogs are a very small minority,” said Chapman in an email, “and the City deals with them to the best of its ability. Under the current provisions of the by-law, any dog that bites or shows aggressive behavior in an “attack” will be issued a Muzzle Order. This Order requires that the dog be muzzled at all times when outside the owner’s house, must be on a leash and under the care and control of a person no less than 16 years of age.”