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Victim’s mom says dog awareness danger lacking

Tamie Williams is doing everything in her power to expose dangerous dogs.

“We would like to work with all levels of government when it comes to dealing with dogs that are an obvious threat to public safety, whether it has just mauled another dog or a person,” said Williams.

“We also want to see information about dangerous dogs—dogs who have showed aggressive behaviour towards other dogs or people—given to the neighbourhood that the dog resides, for public safety.”

Williams’ son, Zach, was bitten on the cheek by a pit bull last Friday. The bite required Zach to get 40 stitches in his cheek in order to close the wound.

Williams wanted to set the record straight that she was unaware that a pit bull lived next door.

“I did not know that these people owned a pit bull. Without knowing there was a dangerous dog there, there is no way I could know that the dog had recently committed an act that was deemed dangerous by the regional district.

“If I had known this, I would of never allowed (Zach) to go into that home.”

According to Bruce Smith, communications coordinator for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, there is currently no bylaw to alert neighbourhoods about dangerous dogs; however, people may notice the aggressive dogs locked up in cages.

“A dog that is deemed aggressive or dangerous must be kept in a locked enclosure when outside on its property,” said Smith.

Smith explained the classification of dogs that may be dangerous to the public. “The first level of an aggressive dog is a dog that, without provocation, causes minor injury or chases a person—on public or private property—in an attitude of attack. It has to be showing some kind of aggression towards a person,” said Smith.

“If it chases another animal in an aggressive manner or inflicts injury to any kind of animal, without any kind of provocation, then it would (also) be deemed aggressive.”

According to Smith, a dog will achieve ‘dangerous’ status if it kills or seriously injures a person or animal.

Despite the fact that it was specifically a pit bull that hurt Zach, Williams was clear that she wasn’t simply going after one breed of dog.

“We’re not on a witch hunt for a specific breed or owner; we are more interested in the prevention of incidents such as this,” said Williams.

Williams attended a separate court hearing on Monday in an attempt to further her cause.

“We were there as a show of what we are trying to accomplish. We sat beside regional district officials as a ‘face’ of what a dangerous dog bite can look like.”

Shortly after the incident, Williams attempted to set up a Facebook page about changes she would like to see made to regional district bylaws; however, the page became a “war zone” and she was forced to take it down.

The victim’s mother has also sent a letter to the regional district that she hopes will lead to discussions of a policy change among the CORD board of regional directors.

 

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