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LETTER: Oak Bay must act to prevent further dog attacks


It is my experience, there are very few dangerous dogs in Oak Bay. It is also obvious most dogs are wonderful pets. Nevertheless, the reality is and the evidence shows, there are dog breeds that are prone to and have attacked people and other animals causing serious injury and death.

The World Health Organization estimates that dogs bite tens of millions of people per year, mainly children (University of Calgary Report).

It has also been estimated: 42 Canadians are bitten by a dog every hour; the children most commonly bitten are aged 5 to 9 years; and over 800,000 Americans bitten by dogs annually have had to be treated by medical professionals.

I read with interest the account of a recent killing of a pet cat in Oak Bay. I was the victim of a vicious German shepherd dog attack during a neighbourhood walk. I was repeatedly bitten before I was able to defend myself. A witness said he saw me kick the dog, failing to mention this was after being badly bitten several times. I required medical treatment.

The dog’s owner was charged with failing to keep a dog under control. The case ended up in provincial court. The dog owner’s defence was I was responsible for the attack. However, their defence fell apart as the dog had previously attacked several other residents, including an old lady that the dog had knocked to the ground.

The Victoria Animal Control Services officer’s action in this incident has been called into question in a report by a local community group. It was reported the Animal Control Service officer told the cat owner, there was nothing the owner of the two large pit bull crosses could do, because the eight-pound cat supposedly started the fight.

It was also reported the owner was seen later walking the dogs in the neighbourhood. If this is accurate information perhaps this officer has data that most people are unaware of. Data that indicates a cat can usually defeat two (or one) pit bulls in a fight.

However, the National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA) organization which represents victims, groups and individuals dedicated to putting an end to pit bull attacks, suffering, and loss of life of both people and animals in North America, provides an online database that indicates otherwise. The database also shows pit bull attacks have caused a lot of harm. It is highly unlikely that not all parties injured by a pit bull reported in the NPBVA database incidents would have started the altercation.

Many jurisdictions have taken action to ban certain dog breeds that are likely to bite and cause injury to people or other animals. Ontario has banned pit bulls since 2005. Owners of large powerful dogs must take steps to keep their dogs under control and council must see that the appropriate action is taken if a dog attack occurs.

Anthony Mears

Oak Bay