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Dog bylaw has no teeth
To the Editor,
On Feb. 28 my dog Bella, an English Springer Spaniel, was the victim of an unprovoked attack on our property by a pitbull the neighbours were in care of. Within minutes of the attack the dog was picked up by the owner. Had the caretaker of the pitbull not been able to call the dog, surely our dog would have been killed.
Because the incident occurred on a Friday evening we took our dog to the Central Island Veterinary Hospital in Nanaimo. After x-rays it was determined that our dog sustained severe injuries including compound fractures of the tibia and fibula, broken sternum and rib and several puncture wounds.
When we arrived home later that evening the neighbours came by to express their apologies for what happened. The owner of the dog called the next morning to apologize also. We were told by both that the dog had never done anything like that before.
Because of the severity of the attack we thought it appropriate to contact the local SPCA, and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD). The SPCA would not get involved as the incident occurred outside of Port Alberni, in Cherry Creek. The ACRD bylaw enforcement officer informed me that there was no dog bylaw in Cherry Creek and although one was pending, not much could be done other than speak with the owner.
My understanding is that for a first offence the new law will carry a fine of $500. The new penalty seems a bit unrealistic considering the severity and costs associated with an incident such as this. If a child would have been attacked there likely would be criminal action but at this point we have no recourse other than through the civil courts.
At this point our vet bills have run into the thousands of dollars and although our English Springer Spaniel Bella is on the mend she will never be back to normal.
Life goes on as normal for the owner and the dog that attacked, with zero consequence.