Abbotsford woman calls for bylaw changes after ‘aggressive’ dog kills family pet
WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.
An Abbotsford woman is heartbroken and furious after her family dog was killed by someone else’s pet last week.
Katelyn Dawn says her mother was walking their 10-year-old Yorkie Chihuahua, named Mya, in the 5200 block of Lefeuvre Road in the early afternoon on April 15 when an “aggressive” dog charged out of an open gate towards them.
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“The dog was on her in two strides,” she said. “There was no barking or anything so she had no time to react.”
Dawn said the dog knocked her mother to the ground as she was trying to pick up Mya, causing her to hit her head on the pavement. She tried again to pick up Mya, but it was too late.
“She almost had her, but then the dog got Mya in its jaws,” Dawn said. “It was just standing over my mother, chomping and rag-dolling and killing my dog.”
A second dog was also jumping on her mother while she was on the ground, Dawn said, but didn’t injure or bite her.
When one of the residents of the home came out to call the dogs back inside, Dawn said he barely acknowledged her mother on the ground.
“My mom is 63 years old,” she said. “He didn’t try to help her up or make sure she’s OK — nothing. I don’t know if he was in shock or what, but he did nothing.”
Dawn’s mother then called out for an older resident with whom she had interacted before, and Dawn said his reaction wasn’t much better.
“He was just kind of like, ‘Whatever,'” Dawn said. “He was pretty nonchalant about it.”
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Global News has attempted to contact the number linked to the home in question, but there was no answer or response.
Dawn said she brought the dog to her mother’s home after leaving a previous relationship, and Mya quickly became her mother’s “pride and joy.”
The two of them have walked Mya on the same route around their neighbourhood for the past six years, she said, including past the house in question.
She said the dogs have been loose before, but she and her mother have been warned by the owners to steer clear. She’s wondering why her mother wasn’t warned this time.
“They’ve told her before that (the dogs) are safe, and there was no problem,” Dawn said. “My mother was screaming at him, ‘Why did you say they’re safe? Your dog killed my dog!’ They didn’t seem to care.”
Trina Douglas, manager of contract services for the Fraser Valley Regional District, said an investigation has been launched into the incident.
“We have spoken to both the alleged offender and the victim dog owner, and we’re still gathering evidence in our investigation,” she said.
Dawn said she’s been in contact with bylaw officers but is outraged that the dog responsible won’t be taken away from the community.
The Fraser Valley Regional District’s animal control bylaw says dogs deemed aggressive or dangerous must be kept in a six-foot-by-six-foot roofed pen outside and must be muzzled at all times when off the owner’s property.
“They won’t even get fined unless they break those rules,” Dawn said. “I would really want to see the dog get seized. It’s so dangerous.”
“Lots of kids live in that community,” she added. “There’s a school bus stop right outside that house. We want to see these bylaws get changed so the dogs get seized immediately if they kill something.”
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The bylaw doesn’t allow aggressive dogs to be seized without a warrant, as dogs are considered property.
It would also be up to the judge issuing that warrant to determine whether the dog is a continuing threat to public safety. That could lead to the dog being euthanized but only through additional court orders.
Douglas said that the legal process typically takes up to a year.
“Each judge is different in how they interpret the situation,” she said, adding that cases are usually more successful when it’s a human who’s been attacked by a dog.
Dawn said it’s ultimately up to the owners to be responsible for their dog’s behaviour and is hopeful no one else will have to experience the loss of a pet.
“If you know you have a dangerous dog, make sure you’re taking care of it,” she said. “This should never have happened.”
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