An Abbotsford woman is devastated after a neighbour’s dog got into her fenced backyard and killed her 13-year-old dog on March 13.
Maria Martin said the incident occurred just after she let Molly – a Maltese/Bichon Frise cross – out to go down the stairs from their second-storey deck to their fenced backyard on Elgon Court.
Martin said, within seconds, she heard Molly barking and then a “loud shrieking yelp” followed by silence.
She ran onto the deck and couldn’t see Molly, but she spotted a dog – which she described as a “brindle type” – wandering around.
Martin then raced to the front corner of the deck and saw “the most heart-wrenching, gut-churning thing” that she says will be forever imbedded in her memory.
A second dog, which Martin describes as a “white pit bull with light brown spots on the front shoulder and hind quarters,” had Molly in its mouth “flopping like a limp rag doll” and was running towards the street.
“I screamed at the dog and the dog dropped Molly, and the two dogs headed down the street,” she said in a written report to the Fraser Valley Regional District’s (FVRD) animal control services.
Martin says Molly was lifeless but she was too distraught to approach her, so she called her daughter, who told her to call 911.
“Molly’s lifeless body remained there until it was safe for my daughter to retrieve the body,” Martin wrote.
An animal control officer arrived to take Martin’s statement and went down the street to find the dogs.
Martin and her daughter then took Molly’s body to an animal hospital, where she was examined and pictures were taken to depict the damage she suffered.
Martin said the loss was compounded by the death 48 hours earlier of her 16-year-old Pomeranian, Jack.
Martin contacted The News this week, saying she was upset that although the dog who killed Molly has been in the custody of animal control, it has not yet been euthanized.
“We are beside ourselves that this vicious animal gets to live another day,” she said.
However, Jennifer Kinneman, FVRD director of corporate affairs, said on Wednesday of this week that the agency will be proceeding with the “humane euthanasia” of the dog, which requires the services of a veterinarian.
She said the offending dog is not a pit bull, and the FVRD does not collect data on the breeds of dogs, as most are not purebreds and can’t be easily classified.
Kinneman said the FVRD’s CARE Centre was notified of the incident by the Abbotsford Police Department, and the dog has been with them ever since.
She said CARE has been working with the owners to sign ownership over to the FVRD, and the agency has been given the “legal authority” to proceed with euthanasia.
“Serious incidents such as this one are treated with the highest priority,” Kinneman said.
FVRD HANDLES ANIMAL CONTROL
The City of Abbotsford transferred its animal control services to the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) in 2015.
The FVRD runs the CARE Centre on Wolfe Road in Chilliwack, where lost, stray and impounded dogs are temporarily housed. The centre also offers a pet-adoption service.
Whenever the CARE centre receives a complaint about an aggressive dog, an animal control officer is dispatched to investigate.
The officer interviews complainants, witnesses and dog owners, and then makes a recommendation which could include a warning, a fine, containment restrictions or, in more serious cases, humane euthanasia.
A dog that is deemed “aggressive” under the FVRD animal control bylaw can be subject to certain guidelines, including keeping the dog securely confined on its property and keeping it on a leash and muzzled at all times in public.
The owner can also request that the dog be euthanized, and must sign a release form.
A dog that has killed or seriously injured a person or domestic animal can also be declared “dangerous” under the Community Charter, allowing for an animal control officer to apply to the provincial court for an order that the dog be destroyed, if deemed necessary.
Jennifer Kinneman with the FVRD said there is one primary animal control officer assigned to the Abbotsford area six days a week and two or more others that are able to assist when needed.
She said that in 2018, there were 1,446 files for Abbotsford, and 41 per cent of those were for dogs running at large.