Dog attack on Oak Bay Avenue sparked by fight

Quarrelling pair agitate dog, yield a bite on the leg for a random passerby

A woman was the “unsuspecting” victim of a dog attack in the 2100-block of Oak Bay Avenue last week.

The owner of a young German shepherd had tied his dog to a railing while he went into a store Oct. 20. Meanwhile, a man and woman were embroiled in a verbal and physical fight near the dog, said senior animal control officer Ian Fraser.

“Then a (second) lady walked past and the dog just lunged up and bit her on the leg,” Fraser said.

Oak Bay police called the injury “substantial” – the woman was taken to hospital for stitches.

Investigators from Victoria Animal Control labelled the attack as indirectly provoked, Fraser added.

The distinction is important. Had the attack been unprovoked, he said, the owner would have been required, under the municipal animal control bylaw, to keep the dog muzzled and leashed whenever it wasn’t at home. Such an attack also requires dog owners to post a sign at home indicating the presence of a vicious dog on the property.

Fines for contravening the bylaw start at $50.

In this case, Fraser said, the fighting couple agitated the dog. Tethered and unable to run, he said, the dog had only its fight instinct remaining and the approaching woman was seen as a threat.

“Here is a perfect example of why it is not a good idea to leave a dog tied and unattended in any public place,” he said. “In that three- or four-minute period of time, you don’t know who’s coming or going (near your dog).”