Connect with Us
Three dogs attacked within eight days in Abbotsford
Marlene was walking her eight-year-old German shepherd malamute Neisha along a sidewalk in the Auguston area of Abbotsford on Feb. 20 when a pit bull bolted from a driveway across the road and lunged at her dog.
The pit bull grabbed hold of Neisha’s neck and wouldn’t let go. The pit bull’s owners came charging across the street on Auguston East as Marlene screamed at them to get their dog off of Neisha.
One of them put a chokehold on the attacking dog, and it released its grip, but the sudden and unprovoked attack left Marlene and Neisha shaken.
“It was like somebody sucker-punched Neisha. She had no idea it was coming,” said Marlene, who did not want her last named used.
Neisha suffered some minor bite wounds to her neck, and Marlene learned that the pit bull in question had attacked two other dogs in the previous eight days.
She reported the incident to the city’s animal control services, which are contracted out of Chilliwack through the Fraser Valley Regional District. She’s concerned that the pit bull could attack other animals – or children – in the area.
Serena Duckett, the owner of the other two dogs that were attacked, is also worried.
She was walking her pugs Bella and Bentley on Feb. 12 across the street from her home when the pit bull bolted from its driveway and grabbed Bentley by the neck.
The owner ran after the pit bull, put it in a head lock, and tackled the dog to the ground, but it was some time before it released its grip on Bentley.
“It felt like forever, but it was probably five minutes,” Duckett said.
Exactly one week later, Duckett’s husband, Mitch, was walking the two pugs, when Bella noticed the pit bull up the street with its owner. She was leashed, but got away from Mitch and ran up to the dog, which then grabbed her by the neck and began violently shaking her.
Mitch punched the pit bull in the side of its chest, and it released its grip.
Both dogs required vet treatment for puncture wounds and scratches, and Duckett reported both incidents to animal control.
She is now afraid to walk her dogs along the street and instead has been taking them out in her backyard.
Katherine Jeffcoatt, communications manager with the City of Abbotsford, said the pit bull’s owners have been issued two tickets, each carrying a fine of $55 if paid within 14 days, for having a dog at large.
She said that due to current wording in the city’s animal control bylaw, there is little else that can be done at this point.
In order for further measures to be taken, the pit bull would have to be designated as a “dangerous dog” by an animal control officer. Under the bylaw, a dog is considered dangerous if it has killed or “seriously injured” a person or domestic/companion animal, or if the officer believes it is likely to do so.
Once it is designated as a dangerous, the dog must be muzzled while in public and must be securely confined indoors or outdoors while on private property.
If further incidents occur once the dog is deemed “dangerous,” the dog can be seized and the poundkeeper can apply to the provincial court for an order to have the dog put down.
Jeffcoatt acknowledged that the wording in the bylaw is subjective and is open to interpretation, which is why it has been under review, with an amended bylaw to come before city council for approval sometime this spring.
The News did not receive a response by press deadline for its request for an interview with an animal control officer to determine whether the pit bull has been deemed “dangerous,” but Jeffcoatt said it is her understanding that the dog has not been designated as such.
Attempts to reach the pit bull’s owners were also not successful.
Duckett said she is concerned that nothing more than a fine seems to have occurred.
“That dog … should be euthanized before someone is injured or killed,” she said.