Capital Regional District animal control responded to 10 “significant” dog attacks for the month of May, according to the chief bylaw officer.
“More and more” reports come in at this time of year due to the longer days and warmer weather, said Don Brown, who has been working for the CRD animal control for 16 years. Looking at the past few years, the CRD averages 15 calls a month, although only a few are “significant attacks.” he said.
Yet for the month of May, 10 cases were reported where the “severity is fairly high,” Brown said. “Those are like the worst injuries, where there are severe injuries or a person has been bitten,” he said. Four cases in May involved a person being bit, Brown noted. In all 10 cases, he said, the dog was declared dangerous and two had to be put down.
“That’s the last resort. Those are dogs that have been involved in serious attacks and may have been involved in attacks before, and we don’t deem them able to go back into the community.”
There tends to be twelve such cases a year, Brown said. “Those are the ones that are very, very serious.”
Typically a dog declared dangerous and would be returned to the owners with strict conditions. This includes having on a muzzle at all times in public and posting a notice on a significant place on a house to indicate a dangerous dog is on the premises.
CRD animal control looks after CRD municipalities in Greater Victoria and three unincorporated areas, including Sidney, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Colwood, View Royal, Langford, Metchosin, Highlands, Sooke, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island.
Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria and Saanich, contract out their own animal control, Brown noted. CRD Dog License registry includes 11,000 pets, according to its website.
In his experience dog parks and don’t have a higher rate of incidents, he said. “From what I’ve observed, it seems as if the people in the dog parks seem to police themselves.” Parks and trails tend to get more calls, although sometimes a dog runs out from the yard when somebody is walking by, he said.
Since all dogs can bite, the breed ranges, Brown noted. They receive calls of “teeny, tiny dogs biting – right up to pitbulls and bigger dogs,” he said.
CRD bylaw allows dogs to be off leash so long as they are under ‘effective control,’ or return when called. But it’s still wise to have your dog on a leash because you never know what’s going to distract them, he advised.
“It could be a rabbit running across the road or a squirrel.”