City councillor ‘shaken’ after being attacked by dogs while cycling in rural Hamilton

Ward 7 Coun. Esther Pauls is recovering after being attacked by what she describes as two “humungous” dogs in rural Hamilton.

Pauls, an experienced cyclist and triathlete, says she was attacked last Saturday afternoon while cycling with her executive assistant on Chippawa Road.

Pauls says she spent seven hours in hospital being treated for deep bites to her calves and ankles, an experience that has left her badly shaken and planning to “see someone” for treatment of her emotional scars.

“I just hate when you can’t do the things you love because you’re afraid,” Pauls said. “I’m a strong woman, I overcome things, but this is the second time it happened to me.”

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Pauls said she was previously attacked 17 years ago on Brock Road, and there’s “always a fear of a dog lunging at you” on a country road.

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“My scars and my leg will heal,” said Pauls, but five days after the attack, “mentally, I don’t even have the energy to exercise.”

Pauls also said she was reluctant to speak to the media because she doesn’t want people to think she hates dogs. “I’m just afraid of big ones that aren’t tied up, and there’s no owner there.”

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Sue Russell, acting supervisor of animal services for the City of Hamilton, confirmed that on Feb. 27, a dog-biting incident took on Chippewa Road that “involved an adult cyclist who was bit by two large breed dogs.”

“The dog owner was charged under the Responsible Animal Ownership By-law,” she said, adding that both dogs are under mandatory quarantine.

Saturday’s incident involving Pauls is by no means an isolated one.

In 2020, Hamilton Animal Services received and investigated 107 incidents that involved a dog biting a human.

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