Halifax dogs bear sprayed during random act of cruelty in backyard of home

Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax
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COLE HARBOUR - A Cole Harbour couple is warning other dog owners that the miscreants who walk around with illegal weapons won’t stop at using them on other humans – they’ll use them on a beloved family pet, too.

Christine Rawding of Cole Harbour sits with two-year-old Kodah, left, and nine-month-old Lexi. Kodah is now fully recovered from an apparent bear spray attack in his own backyard that left his eyes swollen shut for a day.

Doug Snow and Christine Rawding say their two Huskies were attacked with what appears to be bear spray early on March 29 during a routine bathroom break in their fully-fenced backyard.

“It’s so infuriating, and so unfair for something to happen to these guys,” said Rawding as two-year-old Kodah and nine-month-old Lexi roamed amiably around her living room. “They can’t do anything about it.”

Rawding’s partner had let the dogs out around 3 a.m. and a few minutes later a visiting friend noted the dogs – Kodah in particular – acting strangely.

“(Kodah) was rubbing his face in the snow like crazy and making weird sounds,” said Doug Snow. “He came in and went to his bed and was really smashing his face into it.”

Kodah’s face was covered in an orange substance that Snow tried to wash off in the bathtub. By the end of that ordeal, the dog’s eyes were swollen shut and Snow was in bad shape as well.

“I was destroyed,” he said. “My face was burning, my eyes were burning, my nose was running, I was sneezing and coughing.”

Footprints in the snow along the fence suggested someone had stepped up to the chain link and sprayed the dogs on the other side, hitting Kodah full in the face.

Rawding said she called police when she returned home from work around 7 a.m. The responding officer confirmed the lingering fumes in the house were from some kind of sensory irritant, but said there was no way of finding the culprit.

“She said they could have tracked them if they’d got here right away,” she said. “So that’s the main thing I want, people should know you have to call the cops right away. We never thought to, and just a few hours later, there’s nothing they could do.”

Kodah spent a day unable to open his eyes, and was subdued in the yard for a few days after that, but has since recovered.

His doting owners say they’re still angered and mystified by the assault on two good-natured dogs who were secured behind a sturdy fence.

“We didn’t see any rhyme or reason to it.…(the dogs) don’t have an angry bone in their bodies,” said Snow. “We figure it was just some drunk person who walked by and decided to spray some dogs.”

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