Ryder’s road to recovery:Surrey family reeling after lost dog tortured


I will put this notice on my post from now on, every time that I copy a post from Facebook, so all of my readers will know that this is not my work, but that of someone else. This, like so many of my posts have, came from Facebook. This is from newspaper and was written by:Amy Reid / Surrey Now
February 18, 2015 11:32 AM.


Ryder’s road to recovery: Surrey family reeling after lost dog tortured

Young black Labrador reunited with family but faces long recovery

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 11:32 AM

Ryan Westaway and his son Ethan give their black Labrador Ryder some much-needed TLC Tuesday morning at Avon Animal Hospital as Ryder recovers from a “horrific” attack in Surrey over the weekend. (Photo submitted)

Editor’s note: Some content may be too disturbing for some readers.

SURREY — When a family pet goes missing, one’s mind often imagines the worst-case scenario.

One Surrey family found themselves living a nightmare over the weekend as they learned their lost dog had been tortured. What he endured was so brutal they never could have imagined it.

He was stabbed repeatedly with either a knife or scissors, had a wedding ring shoved into one eye, while the other eyelid was been punctured with earrings. Lighters, pendants and other jewelry had been forcefully shoved down his throat, leaving cuts in his mouth.

“It’s a horrible experience. Everybody’s saying, ‘Why did you move to Surrey?’ But it’s actually a very nice area, a lot of kids and people with animals,” said the dog’s owner, Ryan Westaway. “I never thought this would’ve happened to us.”

Westaway and his family moved to Surrey’s Chimney Hill area on Feb. 1 from south Langley, where they lived on an acreage. In their large fenced yard, he said their friendly two-year-old black Labrador Ryder would run freely.

Their three-year-old son Ethan was used to unlocking the door and letting him out – a task he’s been able to undertake since he was just one year old.

Last Saturday around 1 p.m., Ethan did what he used to do in their old home – he let Ryder out. Except this time, he let him out the front door into their residential neighbourhood, and the pup was lost.

Later that afternoon, Westaway got a “strange” message on his answering machine from a private number. It was a woman saying she had seen his dog at Chimney Hill Elementary. She didn’t leave any contact information.

Later, shortly after midnight, police responded to a call.

A 24-year-old Surrey woman covered in blood had approached her landlord saying a dog had attacked her. She lived in a basement suite just a few blocks away from Westaway’s home.

Police say it was quickly clear the dog had not attacked her and the woman was arrested under the Mental Health Act and sent for a psych assessment. She has not yet been named.

Her four-year-old daughter was with her at the time, who was taken into custody of the ministry.

“When you have an animal brutality like that, and even worse, you’ve got a child involved, a four-year-old child, I can’t…” Westaway said as his voice trailed off. “This lady lives close to an elementary school. Unbelievable. What else could’ve happened?”

Westaway recalled the events of Sunday morning. He contacted the Surrey pound and learned there was a dog matching Ryder’s description there. They wouldn’t release any information until he called police, he said.

“I was devastated that I had to call the pound in the morning… I had to do it on my own and find out my dog was tortured.”

When he was reunited with Ryder, his eyes were still shut.

“He ran right up to me and put his head right on my lap,” he said. “He had something in his eye. He was blinking, he was rubbing his eye, it was agitated. He looked down blinking, and something fell out of his eye. It was a wedding ring.”

Westaway later took Ryder to their vet, Dr. Baljit Mrar with Avon Animal Hospital.

Ryder had to undergo surgery to remove items from his stomach.

Ryder Black Labrador

Though surgery was done, there are still some small items near his colon that the vet couldn’t remove. It’s hoped Ryder will pass them on his own.

Ryder was sent home Monday night, but the clinic will continue to observe him.

Westaway said Ryder’s first night home was a success. They iced his eyes to reduce swelling. It was the first time his son had seen Ryder since the attack.

“He lied beside him last night, he slept beside him. He understands, he’s a smart kid,” Westaway said.

But it’s not easy explaining the brutal attack to a three-year-old.

“When you have a young child, and you have kids, they need to know there’s people out there like this that will harm people and harm animals,” he said. We just tried to explain to him as best we could that Ryder got hurt.”

Westaway wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.

“It’s such a crazy reality in the sense of shock that this would ever happen to us. We’re animal lovers, we’ve got a good family. It’s just crazy.”

He expects charges to be laid against the woman in custody, but said knowing the justice system, “she’ll be out.”

“They can’t afford to keep her in a hospital for an extended amount of time. How I feel about it, I feel like she should have no control over her child,” he said.

As for Ryder, he’s expected to recover from his injuries. Despite the injuries to his eyes, the vet said he can see and expects him to fully recover.

“It’s just going to take time,” Westaway said, adding he has concerns about the psychological damage the dog will have to battle through.

“When you get close to his hands or eyes, he twitches right away…. Whatever he endured in that house, will it affect him after? Will his reaction be different to things now?”

Ryder Black labrador

Eileen Drever, an animal cruelty investigator with the SPCA, described the attack on Ryder is “absolutely horrific.”

“This dog is a friendly dog. Once the dog got to the animal hospital, and was being cleaned up, it was wagging its tail. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

The SPCA will be handling the animal cruelty investigation and Drever said the organization would be recommending charges to Crown as soon as possible.

A fundraising page has been started at Gogetfunding.com/project/save-ryder. So far, more than $20,000 has been donated.


© 2015 Surrey Now

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