Cinta, who was savaged July 6 in an attack at a Clair Street plaza parking lot, had the tube draining her wounds removed Monday.
“Dr. Fife said she’s doing amazingly well,” said owner Brenda Coote. “If she continues to improve she could have her stitches removed within a week.”
Brenda said Cinta is moving around as much as she’s able. “She can’t jump up but she’s walking around the house and her tail is wagging non-stop.”
There still remains no word on the identity of the Rottweiler’s owner or whether the animal is at large.
Calls to the Chatham branch of the OSPCA as to whether it is investigating the attack have not been returned since the incident.
Brenda’s husband Randy desperately tried to separate the two dogs but is afflicted with degenerative disc disorder and has mobility issues. Witnesses offered their help, going so far as trying to stop the Rottweiler’s owner from leaving the parking lot and taking his license number.
“After he got the dog back into the car, they were able to drive around the other cars in the parking lot and were gone,” Coote said. “Nothing could stop them.”
After the attack was halted, Brenda tried to contact her veterinarian. After misdialing, a couple, who made their way from Blazin’ BBQ’s patio to aid Coote and Cinta, offered the Coote’s the number to their veterinarian.
When Brenda reached the couple’s vet though, she was advised the vet wouldn’t be able to see Cinta, as she wasn’t a patient of theirs.
“What would happen if you’re a tourist visiting Chatham?” Randy said. “Would Cinta have bled to death if that was the case?”
Though it can be discouraging and upsetting to animal owners who need immediate attention for their animals, it’s common practice for vets to only take on their own clients during emergency hours, according to representatives from three different veterinarian practices in Chatham-Kent, including the family of C-K vets.
Dr. Sean Eagan has over 5,000 clients who visit his practice. He said taking on an animal that he’s never seen, especially in an emergency situation, isn’t something he likes to do.
“We don’t have the luxury like human doctors who work on a scheduled on-call basis,” he said. “If something happens with one of my clients, they’re my responsibility whether it’s during business hours or not.”
Eagan, who recently had to leave a mother’s day dinner with his family to help one of his clients, said it’s not uncommon for vets to only work with current clients in emergency situations.
“Most vets in the area work like that,” he said. “Larger centres have 24-hour clinics but unfortunately, we don’t have one in Chatham-Kent.”
A 24-hour clinic is something Dr. Michael Fife would like to see in Chatham-Kent, and he said it’s been discussed with other vets in the Chatham-Kent area.
“I would love to see a 24-hour clinic in the area,” he said, and noted that the two closest clinics are in London and Windsor.
He said he’s worked with a couple of clients that don’t belong to his practice since opening up his clinic in Chatham, and chooses to do so dependent on the emergency.
“Regardless of what policies are, when we forget about what it’s all about – the animals – its time for us to re-evaluate what we’re doing,” he said.
Fife has been practicing in Chatham-Kent for the past two years and is the veterinarian Cinta has been seeing since the Cootes brought her home.
He said this is the third attack scenario he’s seen in the past month and a half and often attacks have nothing to do with breed disposition.
“This was a situation of someone not having control over his or her animal,” he said.
One of the most disturbing facets of this occurrence though, he said, is the owners of the dog who attacked Cinta had yet to come forward at press time.
“Generally, people will own up to what happened,” he said, “whether it’s putting their money where their mouth is and helping out with the cost of the treatment or just an apology. This is something completely different.”
Fife said he’s still disturbed that the Rottweiler’s owners haven’t come forward.
“These people have no idea and don’t know the implications beyond Cinta (being attacked),” he said. “They have no idea how it’s affecting her family and honestly, they probably don’t even care. It’s sad, honestly.”