Wilbert Antoine in February 2023. Caitrin Pilkington/Cabin Radio
Wilbert Antoine was visiting family just outside the community of Fort Simpson when he says he was attacked by a dog that had broken its chain.
“At the last minute I realized there’s a dog running at me,” said Antoine. “It lunged at me, and I put out my left arm to protect myself. It latched onto my left hand and just shook the daylights out of it. I went to kick it and it latched onto my left lower leg.”
At that point, Antoine managed to free himself. The next day, he was flown to Yellowknife for medical care, where he was treated for a broken hand and several deep puncture wounds, and inoculated with a suite of vaccines against infection.
Antoine is recovering at home but will return to Yellowknife in two weeks for further care.
He says he approached the RCMP to ensure the animal was dealt with, but says he was told that because the incident happened on private property, their hands were tied.
“I told them, you’re protecting a vicious dog,” Antoine said. “Here I am, all ripped up, an Elder. I need medical attention, I’m disabled in one hand, and you’re protecting the dog.”
Fort Simpson bylaw officers technically have the right to seize any dog found to be at large, and to kill any dog attacking another person or animal. When vicious dogs get loose and attack people or property, owners are liable to be fined up to $2,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, though those consequences are rarely enforced.
But Fort Simpson’s mayor, Sean Whelly, and RCMP each said the incident happened outside municipal limits, which means they are not able to intervene or enforce the bylaw.
Antoine says if they’re not willing to act, he’s prepared to take matters into his own hands.
“You tell people you’re going to protect their families, their community, and then this happens. People are talking about this and we want to see something done,” he said.
“If I have to lead the charge, I will. I’m going to get a posse to go down there, guns drawn, and go to war with the dogs.”
Antoine said the dog in question belongs to his brother, Jonas Antoine. Jonas Antoine did not return a request for comment on the incident.
The news comes just months after another report of a Fort Simpson dog attacking and killing another dog and injuring its owner.