'She acted like a mother': Lethbridge teen praised after saving boy from pit bull attack

·2 min read
Saihan, 8, was attacked by a pit bull on Wednesday as he played outside a school during a YWCA summer camp in Lethbridge. Two dogs have been seized pending the outcome of an investigation. (Sayma Refat - image credit)
Saihan, 8, was attacked by a pit bull on Wednesday as he played outside a school during a YWCA summer camp in Lethbridge. Two dogs have been seized pending the outcome of an investigation. (Sayma Refat - image credit)

The mother of an eight-year-old Lethbridge boy who was attacked by a pit bull in a school yard is praising the actions of a 17-year-old summer camp counsellor who may have saved the child's life.

On Wednesday, two pit bulls were running loose in a playground when one targeted the boy, biting him in the face, ear and knee before the teen intervened, according to Lethbridge police.

The girl, employed by the YWCA, was also bitten by the dog as she tried to protect the boy.

"She acted like a mother," said Sayma Refat, whose son Saihan has been released from hospital.

"This girl, she is not our relative, she is not our family, but she protected my son."

YWCA 'proud and grateful' for employee's actions

Refat called the girl an "angel" and teared up at the thought of what could have happened had the counsellor not intervened.

The staff member was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries.

"We are proud and grateful of the quick-thinking response by our staff yesterday," said Jill Young, CEO of the Lethbridge YWCA.

The attack happened around noon on Wednesday, at the end of the YWCA day camp's morning session.

Refat says she was waiting for her son around noon when she and other parents learned a child had been attacked by a dog in the Dr. Gerald B. Probe Elementary schoolyard.

'He's traumatized'

Twenty minutes later, she got a call that it was Saihan who had been injured.

The boy's father rushed to the hospital to be by his side. Saihan needed stitches for the wounds to his face.

"He's traumatized," said Refat. "I am traumatized."

Back at the school, one of the dogs was found with its owner.

The other was discovered in a nearby backyard.

"After about an hour of searching the area, officers located both the dogs," according to a statement from Community Animal Services.

Mother wants to meet 'angel'

The Lethbridge agency has seized both dogs pending its investigation.

Refat says she wants a thorough investigation so that this doesn't happen to another child, but she does not want to see either of the dogs euthanized.

"All the dog owners should be responsible, they should have trained their dog properly," said Refat. "They should supervise all the time."

As for her son's angel: "I will try to meet her."

This is the second time in the last six weeks that pit bulls have been seized in southern Alberta after attacks on people.

On June 5, Betty Ann Williams, 86, was fatally mauled by three dogs in a back alley while gardening in Calgary's northwest.

The City of Calgary submitted an application to Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench requesting the three dogs be euthanized.

Authorities believe the dogs are a North American pit bull terrier mix, a North American Staffordshire mix and an American pit bull.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting