A social media post stating there has been an increase in dog-on-dog attacks in Kelowna is garnering a lot of attention.
However, according to officials, there might not be much evidence to back up the claim.
A recent post on Facebook alleged veterinarians in Kelowna are seeing an increase in the number of dogs coming to their clinics with bites from other canines. One woman claimed a Kelowna vet told her that their clinic sees up to four pups a day with injuries suffered from dog attacks.
However, Regional District of the Central Okanagan bylaw enforcement director Corie Griffiths said there hasn’t been an increase in reports of dog attacks this year or even in the last couple of years.
“We have not received an increase of complaints at dog control. We also have not heard from any vets who are reporting an increase in dog bites,” she said.
According to Griffiths, dog control works hand-in-hand with several Kelowna vets and that if there were an issue regarding an uptick in canine attacks, she would have heard about it.
“I would be surprised if vets are seeing a number of dogs come in with injuries and it not being reported to us,” Griffiths explained. “We would investigate all complaints of aggressive or dangerous dogs in the regional district.”
Historically the number one cause of dog attacks is when the pups are off-leash.
“Our responsible dog ownership bylaw states all dogs must be on leash in a public place or private property unless it is the owner’s property or in a designated off-leash area such as a dog park,” explained Griffiths.
She said the bylaw exists to protect the animal as off-leash dogs have a higher likelihood of being hit by a vehicle, attacked by wildlife or other dogs.
On an average dog, control receives about 1,600 complaints a year, ranging from dangerous or aggressive dogs to barking to dogs being at large.
Of those 1,600, dog control sees about 90 aggressive complaints that are all investigated.
“These numbers have stayed the same year-over-year for quite some time now,” said Griffiths.
Dr. Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital also confirmed he has not seen an increase in injuries caused by other dogs at his clinic.
Owners caught with their dogs off-leash can be fined anywhere from $150 for the first offence to $300 for the third.
If dogs are deemed aggressive or dangerous following a dog control investigation, owners can be fined $300 or $1,000 respectively.
The fine for impounding aggressive dogs ranges from $250 for the first offence to $750 for the third. Impounding a dangerous dog costs $500 for the first offence to $3,000 for the third.