A South African man living in Squamish is appealing to Whistlerites to help him identify a woman whose dog allegedly injured his wife last week.
The couple needs information from the dog owner in order for their travel insurance company to process her medical bills, said Rolf Papsdorf.
“Our medical insurance, because it’s from South Africa, does not pay if we cannot supply details of what happened from the owner of the dog,” he said. “We basically have to cover all the costs ourselves. That is expensive. Canada is not a cheap country.”
His wife, Jennifer Costa, was at Lucille Lake last Monday (July 28) around noon with an acquaintance walking her dog when the pair crossed paths with two other women who were both walking dogs as well. One of the dogs was a white and brown pit bull, a breed that Costa is afraid of. As they talked, Costa positioned herself between the small dog and pit bull before the pit bull broke loose from its handler and allegedly lunged at her. “It jumped forward, possibly to attack the little dog,” Papsdorf said. “It ran into my wife and threw her over. She fell over very (hard).”
Although she was in shock, Costa asked the dog handler for her information in case she needed it later on, but she refused, he said. “She said, ‘Sorry, it was an accident,’ and walked away,” Papsdorf claims. “My wife was able to get back to the car, but in the evening she couldn’t get up anymore.”
On Wednesday, the injury was so bad that she went to a doctor, who told her she had definitely torn a muscle, and she might also have a fractured pelvis. “He said, ‘We definitely need to X-ray,’” Papsdorf said. “He gave us some special medication to try and relax her muscles in order to find out if it’s more the muscles or a break.”
In the meantime, bills are adding up. “A trip to the ER clinic was $700,” he said. “We’re here for an extended period waiting for our application for permanent residency. As long as we do not have permanent residency status we can’t get local medical aid.”
His wife remembers few details from the afternoon, but said the woman with the dog had light hair, was around 26 years old with a slim, but sturdy build. “My wife said she vaguely remembered the woman said, ‘This never happened before,’ and that she worked for a dog-walking company with an ‘A’ (in the name),” Papsdorf said.
He got in contact with Alpine Dogs, but a company spokesperson told Papsdorf they don’t walk dogs at the remote lake where the incident occurred. Papsdorf said Whistler or Squamish locals are likely the only people who were at the lake. “That lake is so secluded that you don’t even find it on the map,” he said. “You have to walk over an hour to get to it. A visitor would never go there.”