Image / Kyla Johnson Facebook

Early Saturday morning, emergency crews responded to a dog attack in a Colwood duplex in the 3000 block of Pitchford Rd.

When officers arrived, they found 13 people including several kids had barricaded themselves in the home to protect themselves.

The recently adopted rescue dog attacked the owner and three other people. All sustained serious injuries and were transported to hospital.

The dog, Rex, was secured by the CRD, and Animal Control told the owner of the dog that he is expected to be euthanized on Tuesday. CRD Animal Control stated the dog wasn’t a candidate for rehabilitation and it would pose a significant risk to the public.

The owner of the pit bull, Kyla Johnson, told Victoria Buzz that she loved Rex dearly.

“Everybody in this house loved this dog. They’d all say the same thing, he was an adorable dog. We all loved him.”

Initial reports from the West Shore RCMP stated that there were 13 people in the Colwood home, and that an altercation during a house party startled Rex and caused him to attack.

Kyla insists that this information is incorrect. “I was in my bedroom… And I had gone out because I had heard some voices being raised. My dad and my fiance were raising their voices because they were playing Call of Duty.”

Kyla says something about the video game and the frustration of those playing triggered something in Rex, but intoxication or roughhousing wasn’t to blame.

In a release from RCMP on Saturday, there were two heavily intoxicated men, one who attempted to fight police.

According to Kyla, there were only 11 people in the house, many of whom were just settling in to go to sleep, and four of which were children.

Once everyone was out of the house, Kyla recalls feeling guilty about the attack and concern for her dog. “The whole time I just kept apologizing to everyone… My family, police officers, paramedics, anyone who would listen to me.”

“Please don’t shoot my dog. That’s all I could say.”

Injuries to the four victims include significant bite wounds.  Kyla’s father suffered deep wounds to his legs and arms. Her aunt also suffered deep punctures when trying to intervene. Kyla also suffered from bite wounds and required several stitches.

“He was so cute”

Before the incident, Kyla says Rex had been nothing but kind and gentle to the family. “My nephew was in the pool one day and rex couldn’t figure out why he was in the pool. Rex was going to dive in there just to make sure he was okay.”

Kyla also owns several cats, one of whom was also a rescue. “We have five cats, and Rex just adored them. He was scared of them at first. He would hide under the blankets and let them just play with him.”

Rex had been in three homes before being adopted by Kyla. When she was discussing taking ownership of the dog, she tried to look into his history to make sure he’d be okay with children and her other pets.

“I was assured everything was good, he had a bit of separation anxiety but other than that they said he was okay.”

If Kyla did not adopt him, she was told he would be euthanized.

What happens next

After the Saturday morning event, Rex was surrendered to the CRD and is expected to be euthanized by the end of the day Tuesday.

“I was laying in bed, and honestly, it was the same day [that] I was at the hospital from 1 (a.m.) – 7 30 (a.m.). Next thing you know I think I went into shock and when I came to, a bylaw officer was standing at the end of my bed while I was still wearing clothes covered in blood.”

“They said I ‘voluntarily gave up my rights’. I was bawling the whole time. I took 5 minutes even signing it.”

Kyla is sad to see Rex go, and has been unable to see him since the incident. She remains steadfast in saying that the dog’s breed had nothing to do with what happened, and maintains that it was just an unfortunate situation.

That being said, Kyla’s story has made her an easy target for people who have read varying versions of the story, or who have a particular attitude towards pit bulls.

“I’ve been getting some really bad backlash. People call me a liar…. People have told me that I should be euthanized.”

Kyla says comments like that are disheartening, especially after such a traumatic event. However, she feels more concerned for her family, and hopes that the injuries caused by the dog and the comments of strangers heal over time.

Despite everything, Kyla says she loves her dog, and misses Rex.

“All that I have left of him are these bloody clothes. [Clothes] that I haven’t washed because they’re all I have left of him.

She hopes to be allowed to be present when Rex is euthanized, “so he’s not alone.”

Shortly after our phone interview with Kyla, we learned she has been given permission to say one last goodbye to Rex.