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Online petition seeks ban of aggressive dogs in North Okanagan dog parks

A Vernon, B.C., resident says her chocolate Labrador, seen here before the attack, was attacked by a German shepherd while they were leaving a local dog park. She says her chocolate Lab, Barney, required two surgeries.
A Vernon, B.C., resident says her chocolate Labrador, seen here before the attack, was attacked by a German shepherd while they were leaving a local dog park. She says her chocolate Lab, Barney, required two surgeries. Submitted

A Vernon resident has started an online petition that would see aggressive dogs banned from regional district dog parks in the North Okanagan.

Donia Strand alleges that her two-year-old chocolate Labrador, Barney, was attacked by a German shepherd in mid-May at a regional district dog park.

Strand says as they were leaving Marshall Fields Park, the German shepherd clamped onto Barney’s chin and snout and wouldn’t let go.

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Barney’s resulting wounds, says Strand, required two separate surgeries and a third follow-up trip to the vet.

A photo of Donia Strand’s dog, Barney, following the second surgery.
A photo of Donia Strand’s dog, Barney, following the second surgery. Submitted

“This bite could have killed a child, a small dog or my Lab if the (German shepherd) had managed to hit his jugular or tear his throat,” Strand said in the online petition. “Banning aggressive dogs from RDNO dog parks is a matter of public safety and safety for our good canine citizens.

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“Please help and sign this petition to respectfully let the Regional District of North Okanagan’s chair and board of directors know we want to keep aggressive dogs out of RDNO dog parks — they don’t belong there.”

In an interview with Global News, Strand says the owner of the German shepherd paid for the first surgery, but she’s out of pocket $800 for the second surgery and the follow-up vet trip.

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Strand says the online petition isn’t breed-specific — its goal is to only target dogs that have been marked as aggressive by local officials.

By not allowing aggressive dogs to visit local dog parks, she says it would prevent possible or future attacks from happening.

But Strand noted that even if such a rule had been in place, it still wouldn’t have prevented Barney from being attacked, as the German shepherd had not been deemed aggressive at that point.

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The Regional District of North Okanagan’s dog bylaw 2466 can be found online here.

It is a nine-page document and contains the following:

Every owner of a dog must ensure that the dog does not:

  • Molest passers-by; approach a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack;
  • Bite, inflict injury, assault or otherwise attack a person;
  • Chase vehicles or cyclists;
  • Chase, harass, bite, inflict injury, assault or otherwise attack any other animal;
  • Bark excessively.

It also says an owner of an aggressive dog, in addition to the other provisions of this bylaw, shall:

  • At all times that the aggressive dog is not on the property of the owner, keep the dog muzzled and restrained on a leash strong enough to hold the dog, and which is no longer than six feet, and be under the continuous care, custody and control of a person competent and strong enough to control the dog.
  • If the dog is on the owner’s property, keep the aggressive dog confined indoors, or if outdoors, keep the dog tethered or in an enclosure to prevent it from escaping.

The dog bylaw says dog owners, pending the infraction, can be fined between $50 and $2,000.

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The bylaw also lists impoundment fees, which have two categories: regular fees and fees for aggressive dogs.

Regular fees:

  • First impoundment: $25
  • Second impoundment: $75
  • Third impoundment: $200
  • Fourth impoundment, and subsequent impoundments: $400.

Aggressive dog fees:

  • First impoundment: $200
  • Second impoundment: $500
  • Third impoundment, and subsequent impoundments: $1,000.
  • Maintenance fee per day: $13
  • Veterinary fees: Per statement

Global News has reached out to the regional district.

In the Central Okanagan earlier this year, a Kelowna woman claimed her nine-year-old dog was attacked by three off-leash poodles.

And in the South Okanagan, a senior was airlifted to hospital after getting attacked by a dog in Oliver. The dog was euthanized.

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To view the online petition, click here.