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'Danger in the park'


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Truros Donna Newlands looks at marks left on her body after an animal, believed to be a fisher, attacked her in Victoria Park last week. Monique Chiasson Truro Daily News

TRURO - Donna Newlands' nightly dreams and bruised body is a reminder that a leisurely walk in Victoria Park may not always be the safest venture.
The 66-year-old Truro resident was attacked by what she believes were two fishers as she was walking in the park last Monday about 9:30 a.m.
Newlands, an animal lover by nature, walks by herself numerous times a week but last Monday's walk provided an unwelcome adventure.
She walked along the Vibert trail and the Hemlock trail extension near the bottom of Serpentine Drive. That's when she spotted the first animal.
"About 20 feet away in the woods ... he just stopped, looked at me like he was sizing me up," she said of the creative that was about the size of a house cat.
Newlands continued walking and about a minute later she saw another, smaller one coming out of a ditch.
"It came right out to me and swung around to my back," said Newlands. Fearing being bitten, she turned around and hit the animal with her metal walking stick before falling backward into the ditch.
Newlands said it was then the animal jumped on her and began clawing at her right leg and arm and biting her fingers on her left hand.
"It had more teeth than any animal I've ever seen ... all I could think of was a creature out of a Steven King novel," said Newlands, who then grabbed the animal by the neck and "flung him" off.
"It was only a few minutes but it felt like eternity ... it was terrifying. I (keep) dreaming about it and wake up having that frightened feeling."
Newlands sought treatment for rabies, receiving 12 needles "in every site that was scratched or bitten."
She said the Department of Natural Resources was called and, according to Newlands, was told by a DNR representative that it's believed there is a fisher colony in the park and a live animal trap will be set. Calls to the DNR were not returned to the Truro Daily News by press time.
Truro's director of parks, recreation and culture, Doug MacKenzie, said his staff has been in contact with the Department of Natural Resources and that live traps have been set in park.
Newlands said she wants the public to know although the park is a "wonderful" place for walking, people must take caution.
"I won't go up for awhile ... I'm timid now. I want people to know there can be danger in the park," she said, especially for pets and curious children interested in looking closer at nature and unfamiliar animals.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

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