12-year-old Taizanah’zian  Fletcher was bitten by her neighbour’s dog on September 11, 2021. Photos: Francisca Fletcher.

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.

12-year-old Taizanah’zian was bitten by her neighbour’s dog on September 11, 2021. Photo: Francisca Fletcher.

“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.”

Accusations of racial bias towards police

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?”

Francisca Flethcher said her daughter Taizanah’zian used her forearm to shield her eye from being bitten and ripped out by the neighbour’s dog. Photo: Francisca Fletcher.

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?”

12-year-old Taizanah’zian was bitten by her neighbour’s dog on September 11, 2021. Photo: Francisca Fletcher.

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.


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Matthew Byard, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Matthew Byard writes news, profiles, and stories of the Black Nova Scotia community. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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4 Comments

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  1. Thank you, Halifax Examiner, for reporting this story. You often report news that is important but under-reported.

    From your story: “Fletcher said that, according to the girl’s mom, [Officer] 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 [Officer Foster] broke confidentiality by saying what we discussed to the accused, that’s not allowed at all,” she said.

    The story goes on to state that “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.”

    I very much look forward to that — these ‘everyday’ stories are often the best way to bring home the reality of everyday injustice.

  2. The culture of irresponsible dog ownership – especially of certain types of dog – is incredibly toxic, even when no physical harm happens. Of course even my blackened heart melts when I meet a nice dog, but dogs are not a human right. If the neighbor had been say, firing a gun into the air, even if nobody was hurt, the cops would be there in force. Instead, the neighbor is allowed to low-key terrorize the neighborhood with their dangerous animal.

  3. I love animals however I cannot understand why people wish to posess dangerous ones. If an animal is muzzled what does that say about its temperament? Is it on a diet maybe? Or just maybe it’s a biter. It’s not the dog it’s the owner! is the usual hue and cry after the disfigurement or death of a victim. So wouldn’t it be prudent considering the numerous attacks of late to crack down in a big way.If this animal has bitten before why was it given the opportunity to bite yet again? Lots of room for blame here. Is it racism? “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men……the shadow knows?” My favourite animal is the turtle a trustworthy and kind little reptile but I wouldn’t have a Snapper for a pet.

    1. I’ve been to the parts of America where some people go to Wal-Mart with an AR-15 because of the constitution or something. It is a ridiculous practice, but after a week or so, I got used to it. The actual risk of being shot by a legal gun owner you do not know is very low. The one gun nut I got to know (we once drove to IHOP together in his Bronco with enough armaments to invade Sweden – he legally concealed carry two pistols, and there were two AR-15s in the truck) was an incredibly normal person who worried about his son’s future and the future of the American healthcare system.

      Recently in Halifax, I had an incredibly sketchy encounter with two pitbulls and owners who seemed to enjoy my trepidation at their dog’s aggressive behavior. If I had been carrying a gun I would have felt much better.