A woman who was in a physical confrontation with a man while protecting her dogs in the Community Forest late last week is speaking out about what happened.
Marcia Honsberger an amateur photographer, was out walking her two dogs on Thursday along the Forest Grove trail in a wooded area while taking pictures with her camera. She says she looked down at her camera screen to review her shots and when she looked back up, a man had appeared out of the trees and was kicking at her dogs.
“I look up and there’s this man just beating my dogs repeatedly,” Honsberger said. “My one dog, she’s blind, right before Christmas we tried to give her the vision that she does have now, which is still very limited. The other [dog] is her seeing-eye dog; they’re always together.
“I begged him to stop, screaming that she was vision impaired, and that [the other] was her aid-dog, stop hurting them, you’re going to kill them.”
Honsberger said it was her dog, Raya, who is close to being blind, that was kicked first, and the other, Mora, tried to intervene by getting in between the two.
“No teeth were bared, nothing,” Honsberger said. “She was just trying to get in between them and he kicked her so hard in the other direction that she went flying into the bushes.”
Honsberger said the man then charged her and got right into her face.
“I was already so frightened that he’s going to kill me, I [felt] have to girly slap,” Honsberger said.
The man swore at her then “smoked me in the face,” she continued.
Honsberger said the punch spun her around and knocked her to the ground.
The man took off after she said she was going to call the police.
The RCMP met with Honsberger and also eventually found the man and spoke with him.
According to statements made by the man to police, the two dogs had quickly approached him and scared him, which prompted his reaction to kick at them to keep them away.
“Police continue to investigate this altercation but it is not likely that charges will be recommended to Crown,” according to a media statement released by Sgt. Chris Dodds. “Police have concluded that this incident was isolated and there is no concern of further incidents occurring.”
While there are no regulations prohibiting off-leash dogs in the Community Forest, signage posted at the southern parking lot off Baker Mountain Road says owners are asked to be in control of their pets and should use a leash if dogs are vulnerable or aggressive in any way.
Honsberger said she is frustrated that charges may not materialize and that this could happen again to other dog owners in the Community Forest.
“The man who did this — he needs to be sat down and talked to about respect for creatures great and small and everyone on the trail,” Honsberger said.
The two dogs — Mora and Raya, a two- and three-year-old Australian Shepherd, respectively — were taken to a veterinarian where exams showed multiple body shots to Raya, while Mora’s whole abdomen was bruised, said Honsberger.
She is speaking out because of what could happen in the future.
“My fear is that next time it’s going to be someone’s daughter, someone young,” she said. “He hit me, what’s he going to do next and that’s my question that I tried to raise to the police.”