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Black mother accuses Halifax police of racial bias after her child was bitten by a neighbour's dog

·5 min read

A Black mother is accusing Halifax Regional Police of racial bias in the mishandling of a case involving her 12-year-old daughter Taizanah’zian, who was bitten by a neighbour’s dog.

Last Saturday, September 11, Francisca Fletcher said she heard a commotion outside her house in the Greystone area of Spryfield, then heard someone yell her name.

“And I looked outside, and my daughter’s coming towards my house with a face full of blood.”

Before taking her daughter to the hospital, Fletcher said that some of the neighbourhood kids told her what they said they saw. Fletcher said they told her they know the dog to be aggressive.

Fletcher said that, according to Taizanah’zian, a white neighbour’s daughter, who is 13, removed a muzzle from the dog and invited Taizanah’zian over to pet it.

Taizanah’zian said after she was bitten the neighbour girl took the dog into the girl's house before Fletcher came outside, and the neighbour girl didn’t tell her own mother about what had happened.

“They have had problems in the past, that’s why I feel like the story doesn’t make sense. And her behaviour doesn’t match that of someone who didn’t do something intentionally,” she said.

Fletcher said that the girl’s mother didn’t learn of the incident until Fletcher told her about it after returning from the hospital.

“But then when I told her that the dog bit my kid, and I showed her the picture, she was freaking out, and she’s looking at the muzzle like ‘How is this possible if the muzzle was on the dog? Because my dog’s not allowed to leave the house without a muzzle,’ making it very clear that she knows the dog bites.”

“The daughter didn’t show any type of sympathy. Like I said, she didn’t even walk over with my daughter. When the mother was there with the daughter, she was being very disrespectful to her mom.”

“She told my daughter to come pet the dog, my daughter went to pet the dog, and the dog bit her, knowing that the dog bites kids. Because the mother couldn’t stress it enough. The mother made it very clear that all the kids know the dog bites kids.”

Fletcher said that while at the hospital, Halifax Regional Police officer Jeffrey Foster came to her home and questioned her boyfriend about the incident.

Fletcher said her boyfriend showed Foster photos of Taizanah’zian’s injuries. Fletcher said that she spoke to Foster briefly over the phone — once while Foster was at her house and she was at the hospital, and a second time when Foster called back while she was at the neighbour’s house telling the girl's mom what happened.

As of Thursday morning, Fletcher said that she hadn’t heard from the police since and that they had yet to take a statement from Taizanah’zian, who was attacked.

“My child is the victim, how do you have an investigation without talking to the victim?”

Fletcher said that other than giving a statement to animal control and being given an incident report number by police, nothing has happened since. She says police still haven't attempted to get a statement from her daughter or other witnesses to the attack.

“The cop still hasn’t gone to question the kids that I told him were witnesses to the situation. Like the girl’s family did not witness the situation.”

Fletcher said that, according to the girl’s mom, Foster has, in fact, questioned the family that owns the dog. She said that, according to the woman, Foster told her he thinks Fletcher is fabricating her story.

“And he broke confidentiality by saying what we discussed to the accused, that’s not allowed at all,” she said

“Now I really feel he is racist, no ifs, ands, or buts," said Fletcher. "And today they were giving me a hard time on dispatch, said I can’t press charges. So who is responsible? This is gonna give me a seizure.” Fletcher has epilepsy and experiences seizures.

Fletcher said that other neighbours have since messaged her about the dog roaming loose with no muzzle on at least two occasions since the incident.

Fletcher said that based on past experience, she feels that had her own dog bitten a white child, things would be different.

“I know people who’ve lived (in the neighbourhood) who are Black … who their dog has pinned down a dog of a white owner, [and that] dog had to get taken from the family. And another situation where a dog from a Black home bit a white child — that dog had to get taken out and put to sleep as well,” she said. "If my dog bit [someone], there would be no runaround. All the white people would have come for me to make sure my dog was removed.”

Asked what she hopes happens next, Fletcher said, “That dog needs to get out of the community because it’s not only my child living there; there’s a bunch of kids living in that community. So are they going to wait for it to happen again? And two, I want justice for my daughter because my daughter’s the victim in this situation, and it’s never OK for an animal to bite somebody. If an animal bites a child, who’s responsible?”

“And this is a situation of a child. It’s like, you would think that with a child — they say all lives matter and Black lives matter... Well what about my kid?”

The Examiner has asked Halifax Regional Police for comment, but we've yet to receive a response. We'll update this article when we do.

Matthew Byard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Halifax Examiner

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