The Regional District of Central Kootenay is dealing with dog issues in Area H.

Dog attack raises control issue in Area H

A woman who was attacked by a dog in Krestova is concerned about lack of dog control in her area.

A woman who was attacked by a dog in Krestova is concerned about lack of dog control in her area of the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

“I cannot over stress how important it is to ensure the future safety and well being of this neighbourhood,” Debra Bakowsky said. “We all need to examine our responsibility as a community and as the stewards and friends of these beautiful animals.”

Bakowsky lives on Sorokin Road and was “viciously attacked without provocation” while riding her bike on the road near her home.

The attack happened on Friday when one of two young Labrador retrievers in the company of a couple boys on bikes took Bakowsky by surprise when it bit her calf and thigh. She had paused to comment on “how cute they were” when she received the first bite and the second came as the dog charged her as she stopped to steady herself up against a tree. The woman ended up with puncture wounds on both legs, very deep on the right.

“In shock, I was taken to hospital by my neighbour,” she said. “It is one thing for dogs to be a nuisance, and quite another to viciously attack without provocation.

“I have realized, living outside of town, that there are many irresponsible dog owners, who besides the nuisance caused by free roaming dogs, do not realize the pack mentality of these animals, and how dangerous they can become.”

Hearing from a friend that this is a “Kootenay phenomenon” doesn’t sit well with Bakowsky. She reported the incident to the RCMP and her regional district director Walter Popoff.

Popoff confirmed that dealing with unruly dogs does happen in Area H where residents have indicated they don’t want control handled by the RDCK. Some areas such as E and F have dog control.

“Dog issues do come up every once in a while,” he said. “My concern is the vicious dogs that attack people and bite people and other animals.”

In the past, Popoff sent out a sample dog control bylaw and the costs associated to having one to homeowners of Area H to gauge interest.

The clear majority of those responding were opposed.

“It’s up to the residents,” he said. “That’s the direction I am getting from residents of the area. If they provide me with different direction, I would work toward establishing a dog control bylaw.”

In light of that consensus, Popoff has engaged in education about animal control and when complaints come his way, he lets people know of other options.

There is a provision in the Community Charter of the province of BC — section 49, that provides permission for a peace officer to obtain a court order to seize a vicious animal, he explained.

Bakowsky would like to see a change in the Area H so residents are protected against vicious dogs. The community charter covering vicious dogs is a cumbersome method of animal control that often leads to an animal being put down rather than rehabilitated.

She understands it’s not likely to have the same degree of rule existing in urban centres.

“I also believe it should be easier to take control of a situation that is potentially dangerous to all concerned, including the animal who is acting out of instinct, lack of training and control by the owner or worse,” she said.

Bakowsky has since met with the “compassionate” owners of the dog who bit her. She’s found them to be “busy parents” who are “wholeheartedly” willing to work on their pet’s behavioural issues.

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