A Halifax woman is calling for off-leash dog regulations to be re-evaluated by the Halifax Regional Municipality following a recent encounter she had while jogging through Point Pleasant Park.
“With the two other dogs in front of me, I couldn’t turn around fast enough to protect myself and it bit me on the leg. And, after the first dog bite, it kind of got the other two dogs kind of more aggressive and it took several minutes before the dog owner could manage to get them back on leash,” Vicky Le Blanc said.
Le Blanc says the owner was very apologetic but she was shaken by the incident and felt the outcome could have been much worse if she had a child with her.
With that concern in mind, she filed a complaint through 311 with the municipality and says she was shocked by the response she received from the operator.
“They said, like, ‘Good luck having anything changed because it’s not a new issue, it’s an ongoing issue.’ And, I even suggested to carry a walking stick and use it to defend myself next time I came across a dog that was aggressive,” Leblanc said.
A public affairs adviser with the municipality confirms that the incident was reported and an investigation is underway and several penalties could be issued if it’s determined that the animal bylaw was violated.
“The penalties range from having the dog seized by animal services, having the dog declared as dangerous, having a muzzle ordered, or the owner could face a fine, or a warning. And a number of penalties could be combined,” Klara Needler said.
Needler says although the majority of Point Pleasant Park is an off-leash dog area, owners are still required to have effective control of their animals at all times.
“As per the bylaw, dog owners have the responsibility to prevent their dogs from attacking a person, or another animal,” Needler said.
Le Blanc hopes her experience encourages dog owners to consider all possible outcomes before they decide to unleash their pet in high-traffic, public areas.
“If you have one incident with your dog then really it’s a sign that they couldn’t be trusted, off-leash, in public areas,” she said.