THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO                                Robert Scott Elementary School’s field, which is where the incident is believed to have occurred.

THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Robert Scott Elementary School’s field, which is where the incident is believed to have occurred.

Port Hardy’s animal control needs some ‘teeth’ says local attacked by dogs

Hunter asks what proactive measures municipality and animal control can do to stop future incidents.

Early last month a Port Hardy man who was attacked by two dogs called for change in animal control enforcement.

Christopher Hunter, who owns a barbershop along Market Street, was attacked by two dogs near Robert Scott Elementary School’s field on Oct. 26. He also believes the incident he went through may also be related to a recent dog attack, which occurred near Eagle View Elementary School.

“I saw two dogs in the middle of the field with a female owner,” Hunter said, after noting the dogs were, in fact, off leash. Robert Scott Elementary School does not allow for off-leash dogs in the field but also does not have signage indicating to keep dogs on a leash either.

He then requested the dog owner to control her pets because of his fear of dogs. The owner replied to Hunter saying “they are fine” and then walked through the field.

After multiple requests to restrain the dogs they still “continued to run towards” Hunter, according to his account. “All the while the dogs were growling and snapping” at him.

He felt the need to use self-defence after the dogs’ aggression, having believed the dogs would bite him.

“I used my walking stick to defend myself and hit one of the dogs. This did not deter the dogs, nor was the owner taking physical control of the dogs,” he added. “I removed my knife from my packsack for further protection from the dogs.”

The owner then distracted the dogs and restrained the two pets in her car. “I realized that she was preparing to take the dogs and quickly leave the scene,” he mentioned. Hunter grabbed his phone and began recording the incident on video.

“‘Sorry for the attack,’” the owner said to Hunter. She did, in fact, leave the scene immediately after the incident took place.

As for his experience, Hunter noted that he “felt very traumatized and was experiencing symptoms of PTSD” from the event.

Hunter also added he was emotionally and physically shaken after. “I was experiencing nausea and trembling,” he pointed out, “I could not sleep that night as I kept having flashbacks to the incident. I continue to experience physical and emotional trauma as a result of this experience, including anxiety and physical trembling.”

Weeks after the incident, he now calls for a change in animal control’s authority. He had a couple of questions on “what actions can we do? What proactive measures can we take?”

”I would think the answer would be to give animal control the ability to label a dog as vicious,” he noted. He also added that the town’s animal control should have more authority. “There’s got to be a reasonable middle ground.”

The Gazette will follow up with more information as Port Hardy’s animal control officer responds.