Dog bites four-year-old
Boys teasing husky in fenced yard

by Ian Elliot
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 24/97) - A four-year-old boy was bitten around the face and head by a husky Sunday afternoon. The boy's mother wants the dog destroyed.

But charges will probably not be laid against the dog's owner, says a city municipal enforcement official. That's because two youngsters apparently climbed a pole to unlatch a gate to get into a fenced yard near the Hilltop Apartments, where the attack occurred.

Calling it a "provoked attack" and saying the dog's owner had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent such an attack, Larry Weber of the city's municipal enforcement division said charges are unlikely to be laid.

"The dog was not at large, it was licensed, vaccinated, everything," he said Monday.

"At this point we feel the kids provoked (the dog)."

But the mother of Jordan Drybone, who turns five next month, says her son climbed into the yard to play with the dog and was not teasing it.

"He said to us when we took him to the hospital, 'Mommy, I just wanted to pet the dog,'" Debbie Drybone said yesterday.

Her son loves dogs, she said, and rejected the idea that he and the other boy were tormenting the animal.

"We have only been (in Yellowknife) a month and he still believes that all dogs are nice to you and you can just walk up and pet them."

She wants the dog destroyed. "Heaven knows who it is going to bite next," Drybone said.

Jordan was taken to hospital after the attack on Sunday afternoon to have his cuts sewn up. His mother said he had nine separate lacerations on his face and head.

"The kids were just imitating what they had seen older kids do, which is to go into the yard and torment the dog," said Weber.

His office has been called to the house several times before, he said, but it was always at the request of the homeowner, who was complaining about children teasing the dog.

The dog's owner recently spent about $5,000 building a high wooden fence to prevent the teasing incidents, he noted.

The dog has never menaced or attacked anyone before, he said, noting at one point it went missing several times when a neighborhood child unhooked it from its chain and took it home.

"He is really between a rock and a hard place," Weber said of the homeowner.

"He has built the fence, he has talked to the people in the apartment building about stopping their kids from bothering the dog -- I don't know what else he can do."

But Drybone is convinced something more must be done. "If the dog dos it again and kills a kid... imagine how I'd feel. I'd feel like I never did anything," she said. "I just want to make damn sure this never happens to another kid."