Westwold resident Debbi Vanderydt has tried it all: calling RCMP, SPCA, sticking bars into the ground and placing a spiked bar atop her fence to keep the neighbour’s dogs out.
None of that worked recently when what she described as a pair of rottweiler-border collie cross dogs leapt the four-foot high fence into her front yard, where she was planting and weeding along with her 2 1/2 year old daughter, Leilani.
“I saw them coming. I grabbed by daughter. You make a choice.”
Left behind was her 12-pound rat terrier, Bear, one of 19 dogs she says she rescued after they were abandoned after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
“I called my dog but she was scared and ran the other direction.”
Vanderydt said by the time she was able to get back outside to rescue Bear, the pair of dogs, which she estimated at 75 pounds each, had torn off large chunks of hide.
The Westwold resident said the accompanying vet bills have totalled $1,700 and she is not yet sure her dog will survive.
“I don’t think there is one area of her body that is not injured.”
Vanderydt said her neighbour fails to recognize the danger, otherwise well known in the local community. She said another neighbour had her coat bitten in past by one of the dogs.
The incident occurs as the Thompson-Nicola Regional District considers whether to bring in a dangerous dog bylaw. A bylaw will come to the board of directors June 13 for consideration.
A committee will also meet later in June to better define what is a dangerous dog. A taxable service is being considered to raise up to $25,000 a year for kennel fees and veterinary fees to house and destroy dogs.
But area director Ken Gillis fears creating a municipal-style dog control operation is too expensive. He’s also skeptical the RCMP will enforce the bylaw.
“In my opinion, expecting the RCMP to enforce an animal control bylaw is a pipe dream.”
Short of a serious attack on a person there are few laws that govern pets in unincorporated areas. Gillis said most rural property owners who feel threatened “call their friends — Remington and Winchester.
“The standard method of dealing with dangerous dogs in rural areas — not downtown Clearwater, Merritt or Barriere — is . . . if your neighbour’s dog is that bad, you shoot it,” Gillis said.
Vanderydt said she doesn’t have a gun. And Gillis said no one should advocate needing a firearm to live in the country.
Despite his skepticism that RCMP will enforce a dangerous dog bylaw, Gillis said he will likely vote in favour of a bylaw on the chance the RCMP will act.
“Right now we have nothing,” he said. “Is she (Vanderydt’s daughter) going to be the next victim?”
Vanderydt said she believes her neigbour is moving. She fears something similar will happen elsewhere.
“My fear . . . is the next community won’t know, and what happened to my dog this time will be a child next time.”