An alleged attack on a visitor to the Shuswap’s dog, raised concerns for the woman after discovering the rural area she was staying at has no animal control officer or bylaw.
Leslie Paramchuk was visiting her parents’ home in Annis Bay when her small dog, Maeby, was reportedly attacked by a larger dog on the front lawn of the house on Sept. 19. Paramchuk said she heard Maeby yelp from outside the house and rushed outside to see the large dog clinging on to her pup’s neck with its jaws. Paramchuk’s parents and sister struggled to get the large dog to release Maeby; it did, but then returned to grab the small dog again, this time by a hind leg.
Eventually, the big dog halted its attack and its owner arrived to take control of it. Maeby was left bleeding. Paramchuk said the owner of the large dog was apologetic and offered to pay for her vet expenses.
Paramchuk took Maeby to the Shuswap Vet Clinic where she said she did receive exemplary care. She said one of the veterinarians even brought Maeby home with her for overnight monitoring.
Later, after having Paramchuk had a conversation with neighbours, it was suggested the large dog had broken out of a nearby cabin before attacking Maeby and that it had been involved in two recent attacks on other dogs.
Paramchuk said she called the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) as well as the RCMP and BC SPCA about the issue. She was told the RCMP is not tasked with intervening unless dogs attack people and the BC SPCA only gets involved when animals are being neglected or abused. The CSRD bylaw services officer informed her that Electoral Area E does not have an animal control bylaw.
Paramchuk now worries about returning to her parents’ house.
“We’re hostages there now. I’m going to go back there and fear for the safety of my dog and my child,” Paramchuk said.
Rhona Martin, the CSRD director representing Area E said there are no immediate plans to develop an animal control bylaw for the large rural area surrounding Sicamous and Malakwa.
Martin said she was not familiar with the details of the Sept. 19 attack and was only made aware of it almost two weeks after it occurred. She added that few incidents of dogs attacking other dogs are brought to her attention with another incident earlier in 2020 the only other one she heard about in recent years.
She said like all other services provided by the regional district, the addition of an animal control service would have an impact on Electoral Area E residents’ tax bills. Martin added that Area E and the District of Sicamous looked at creating a joint animal control service in the early 1990s but found it prohibitively expensive at the time.
Given Area E’s large size and sparse population, Martin also said she is unsure if an animal control bylaw would be effective if it was introduced. She added she would be open to further discussion of an animal control bylaw for the area.