Parksville bylaw compliance officer Aaron Dawson has confirmed the city is investigating a case of dogs killing sheep within the city.
Two bylaw officers attended the scene at a farm on Stanford Avenue on May 11 at the request of RCMP, he said.
“I don’t believe there were dogs there when they arrived, but there were obviously damaged sheep,” he said of two sheep that ended up dying.
Shelly Gibson of the Shelly Farm previously told The NEWS that her brother-in-law saw what he called two pitt bulls and a boxer come onto the property and kill the sheep.
Dawson said he couldn’t give much detail on the active investigation but that “we’re trying to find any evidence of whatever dogs live in the area that may have been involved one way or another and whether we can prove it.”
“We know about dogs that live in that general area,” he said, but he’s not sure they can find evidence to prove they were on the scene and if they do, whether that evidence is strong enough to lay charges.
“This is serious enough that we want to make sure we’re not leaving anything unturned. These are truly serious matters, so it’s really important that we get it right,” Dawson stressed. “It’s like humans being on death row without a proper conviction. From a local government perspective, it’s a very serious matter.”
He said when they do find sufficient evidence of a dog killing an animal, “the dog would be deemed dangerous/vicious, they’re the same thing,” but beyond that, the charges would depend on a lot of factors like where the dog was a resident, if it was licensed or leashed and any history. Once deemed dangerous, it would then have have to be muzzled and “be under care and control of the owner, on the property.”
Dawson said in the most extreme cases, the city can go through the court system for a destruction order, which he said hasn’t happened in his time with the city. They did come close once but the owner decided to put their own dog down before the city went through the long process.
“Sometimes bad things happen but the owners are still good, responsible people — sometimes stuff just happens,” Dawson said. “Your pet is part of your family, so it becomes a real personal thing and a real emotional thing.”
Dawson did assure the public that “there isn’t a pack of wild dogs cruising around Parksville killing, we would know that. If we can prove something, we’ll deal with it, if we can’t prove it then obviously we can’t lay a charge.”