An older couple should be expecting a visit from police in the near future after reports of off-leashed dogs being sprayed — or at least threatened — with bear spray in the Comox Valley.
In November, Liz Lyle-Mattson’s dog Buddy was sprayed with bear spray while on a walk in the Northeast Woods, and other dog owners have since described being threatened with bear spray for having their dogs off-leash.
On Sunday, Brenda Cardinal was playing fetch with her four and a half year old dog Kayla in Highland Park when she was approached by an older man and woman.
She said the man told her her dog should be on a leash and she replied that he should mind his own business. Cardinal then noticed a can of what appeared to be bear spray in the woman’s hand. Cardinal says the confrontation escalated very quickly and she and the couple began yelling at each other.
“It aggravated my anxiety and I just went into fight or flight mode and it just got really ugly really fast. It was a verbal confrontation,” she said.
Cardinal says she has PTSD due to her years in the military and says it was triggering to be yelled at and approached so aggressively.
“You don’t approach people like that,” said Cardinal. “He came across as very condescending, and it was like he was trying to intimidate you.”
Cardinal continued to throw the ball for Kayla throughout the confrontation to keep her away from the couple. She adds she also took photos of the couple and later posted them to social media to warn others.
Cardinal says she eventually walked away from the situation, and the couple then approached another dog owner on the field.
“I’ve been taking Kayla for three and a half years through there just about daily and I would say 95 per cent of the dogs are off-leash,” said Cardinal, adding that she always communicates with the other dog owners she encounters and has never had a problem.
Cardinal reported the incident to the police and says the altercation highlights the need for an off-leash dog park in the Town.
Monika Terragni, media relations with the Comox Valley RCMP, confirmed that a police report had been filed and says the couple has been identified. She said the RCMP will be following up with the couple and are still gathering information.
A request for comment has been sent to the Town of Comox.