Dog attacks happen across the Capital Region, but chief bylaw officer Don Brown says no one breed is more prevalent than another.
“I don’t think there are any breed-specific regulations anywhere in B.C. and certainly nothing from Greater Victoria,” Brown said. “The problem with breed-specific is what if it’s 50 per cent pit bull? Twenty-five? Where do you draw the line?”
Following a pit bull attack in Colwood over the weekend, Brown said that some breeds get noticeable complaints, but that this has to do with the damage they can do versus how often they bite.
“Pit bulls and Jack Russells have extremely strong bites,” he said. “People jump when it’s a pit bull because they’re big and, in my opinion, homely dogs.”
While there are situations when animals need to be euthanized, Brown says of the many hundreds of dogs they receive complaints about every year, only about 12 dogs are put down every year.
Most animal attacks dog-on-dog, or dog-on-livestock encounters.
After a dog is reported, several things are taken into account when deciding which action to take; how serious the attack was, the dog’s history, and the dog’s environment.
“Depending on the situation, sometimes the dog can get re-homed,” Brown said. “But if it’s killing livestock you can’t go put it in the city.”
Brown said that the fall is a high season for livestock attacks, perhaps due to breeding cycles or even taking to account that it’s lambing season.
If a dog has been declared dangerous, owners will have to pay for a “dangerous dog license,” and follow certain criteria in handling them, including posting a warning sign outside their home, and making sure that dogs are muzzled and leashed when out in public.
A bigger step officials can take is ask for a consent order, something that’s used in situations that are “Serious, but not serious enough to euthanize.”
A consent order has the same limitations as a dangerous dog license, but it goes to the provincial court and has both parties sign off on the agreement. Should the dog then become violent afterwards, the CRD can immediately have the dog euthanized without question.
“The only dogs we put down are the ones involved in serious attacks— we’re a not kill facility,” Brown said. “Sometimes attacks come from pitbulls, sometimes from poodles.”
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