A Vancouver Island woman wants to raise awareness about the damage that an off-leash dog can cause.
Gloria Klettke, 71, says she was injured by a dog that was running free at Tyee Spit in Campbell River. It was wearing a leash but the owner wasn’t holding it or paying attention, she said.
“His leash wrapped around my legs, and I tried to push the dog and the leash away so I could get walking,” she said. “He took my feet right out underneath me. My head went straight into the pavement.”
The Labrador was only about five months old, but Klettke said her husband estimated that it weighed about 50 pounds.
They drove to the hospital, where she received stitches. A photo of Klettke posted to social media shows her right eye badly bruised and inflamed, with scrapes and cuts on her forehead and stitches around her eye.
“The bruise went right down to my neck, the whole side of my face,” Klettke said.
The dog owner was highly apologetic, but others are often hostile when asked to keep their pets on-leash, including people with large dogs, she said.
“They just sort of look at you and tell you to eff off, mind your own business,” she said.
Campbell River’s animal control bylaws limit off-leash dogs to a single area, Penfield Dog Park. In any other public place within city limits, the bylaw states that dogs are required to be led by a leash “that does not exceed 1.83 metres,” or six feet, and dogs must be under “effective control of a competent person.”
Exempt from the law are guide or service dogs, RCMP dogs and search and rescue dogs, provided they’re under control and performing one of those functions. Violations can result in a $100 ticket or a warning. Eight off-leash tickets were issued in 2017, seven in 2018 and four have been issued so far this year.
Check with the local authorities for the laws in your community.