Pointe Claire residents terrified
By Robert Frank
Trained guard dogs provided by the security firm Serca escaped three times over a four-day period from the car compound that they protect in Pointe Claire’s auto plaza district.
The dogs escaped underneath the enclosure at the Spinelli dealership, and roamed the quiet residential neighbourhood north of Fairview, overnight, on May 10, 11 and 13.
During their second escape, May 11, they pursued and bit a 16-year-old John Rennie High School student who was cycling up Sunrise crescent.
“My son’s friend was coming to visit,” recalled resident Lori Vinaric. “The dogs followed him all the way to our house. When he got off his bike, they decided that they needed to guard our driveway, and bit him on the back of his leg.”
“Fortunately our door was unlocked, so he ran in and slammed the door,” she continued. “One of the dogs then stood watch over our front door while the other patrolled the street in front of our house. We couldn’t get out, and my son’s friend was quite shaken by the experience.”
The following evening, another resident, spotted the dogs roaming up and down, nearby.
“We noticed them while we were driving along Grandview,” said resident Stuart Kerr. “A little girl was playing on the street, and I rolled down the window to warn her that the dogs were dangerous. She said ‘thank you’ and ran back into her house.”
Pointe Claire public security chief Réjean Cauchon confirmed in an interview that police and paramedics were called to the scene.
“We captured the dogs each time and returned them to [Serca],” he said. “Our inspectors visited the Spinelli dealership, May 14, checked the premises and everything was fixed as we had requested, the same day.”
“Urgences santé did not transport the youth who was bitten to hospital, as the contusions did not draw blood,” Cauchon added. “Infractions were issued for each incident, since dogs must be on a leash in Pointe Claire.
“It’s important that we take the other two incidents seriously as well, even though no one was injured on those occasions,” he underscored. “We have to ensure that they will not recur.”
Const. Linda Belucci at Station 5 concurred.
“We have to determine whether this is problematic or if there have been any other incidents,” said the Montreal policewoman.
Spinelli vice-president François Houle was dismayed to learn from The Suburban that someone had been attacked during one of the incidents.
“Police never advised us that someone had been bitten,” he said.
“We always try to support the community,” he emphasized, and vowed that he will contact the victims in person to convey the automobile dealership’s apology.
Houle explained that the escape was caused by condominium construction on the adjacent property.
“Construction workers digging next door left a gap underneath the fence which they did not repair, permitting the dogs to pass underneath easily,” he said. “We’ve since solved the problem by putting cement pillars underneath.”
Mayor Bill McMurchie affirmed that Spinelli has a longstanding reputation for responsible conduct.
“They are good corporate citizens,” he said in an interview.
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