Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Her owner, Marie Fletcher, said she witnessed them pull her under the water before she was ale to break free, after suffering multiple scratches and bite marks. (Photo submitted)

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

A bizarre incident Friday morning on the Okanagan River Channel has a dog owner warning others to be cautious.

Marie Fletcher of Penticton was out for a walk with her husband, Joe, and their two dogs when her 36-kilogram (80-pound) lab cross, Penny, went for a swim, between the treatment plant and the Penticton Indian Band gas station.

Four river otters attacked the dog, Fletcher said, and tried to pull her under the water.

“I’ve seen muskrats in the channel but I’ve never seen river otters,” she said. “We just heard (Penny) crying as we were walking and we turned around to see her go under and pop up again crying.”

The dog managed to get free and swim to the shore, and the otters followed, until she got to her owners.

“They came right to us and just stared at us. It was scary. They were not afraid – they were aggressive.”

Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Here are some of the scratches and bites she suffered after she was pulled under water. (Photo submitted)

READ MORE: Northern B.C. city dealing with its own otter problem

Fletcher said they continued their walk to warn other people walking dogs, while the otters followed closely beside them in the water.

Penny got with away with scratches and bites, but they still took her to the Anderson Veterinary Clinic. She said the vet told her otters are not known to carry rabies, but she wanted a rabies shot anyway.

Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Here are some of the scratches and bites she suffered after she was pulled under water. (Photo submitted)

Dave Cox said he’s been a conservation officer in the South Okanagan for 10 years and has never heard of an otter attack like this.

He said hopefully the incident is a “one-off,” but if the attacks become more frequent, they’ll put out a warning.

READ MORE: Staff relocating koi away from hungry otter at Vancouver Chinese garden

“Otters are not overly aggressive to people or animals. Normally, they’re only interested in fish or things of that nature,” said Cox.

“I don’t know if anything provoked it ,like maybe they had some juveniles from the spring around and they felt threatened or intimidated by the dog. But I’m sure in their world, they viewed this dog as a predator.”

Fletcher said Penny is not aggressive and would not attack another animal. Cox said otters are also not very territorial, so they were unlikely trying to protect their den.

Fletcher wants to warn other dog walkers and channel users, so they can avoid a similar incident.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everyone should be aware of the Labour Day movement

My hat is off to Tyson Whitney for his article on Labour Day.

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Transformative ‘Centre of Hope’ coming to Port Hardy

With the new building, the Salvation Army will be able to run the shelter year long.

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read