Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Vancouver Island farmers want stricter laws for dangerous dogs after livestock killed

October 20, 2013 Amy Judd, Global News

Farmers in the small community of Hilliers, south of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, want the provincial government to do something about dangerous dogs in their area.Earlier this month, five of Amber Dawes’ sheep, including the family pet Shirley, were violently killed by a pack of vicious dogs. Several other sheep are still recovering from their injuries. Three months before that attack, six of Dawes’ quail were killed by the same dogs.

The Livestock Act does allow farmers to shoot dogs they believe are threatening their animals, but that is something Dawes feels should not be up to her to do.

“I don’t want to be the one that has to shoot someone’s dog or hurt another animal,” says Dawes. “I think that the people that own those animals should be held accountable and that we need a stiffer base for the laws to be able to enforce that. Whether that be through large fines, not a little slap on the wrist, and if the dogs have done it more than once to definitely seize those dogs, because they’re not going to stop.”

Minister of Agriculture, Pat Pimm, was not available to comment today but did release this statement to Global News:

“I am always open to talking to stakeholders about what government can do to support B.C.’s agriculture industry. Section 11.1 of the Livestock Act allows people to protect their livestock from dogs that are ‘running at large’ and ‘attacking or viciously pursuing livestock’. I can’t speak to the specifics of any one case. In general, the law is in place to protect animals from aggressive feral or domestic dogs. Should a person protect their livestock by shooting the dog, they must follow all firearm regulations and laws. In addition, cities, municipalities and regional districts have the ability to regulate “dangerous dogs” (dogs that have threatened a person or domestic animal) through the Local Government Act.“

Nearby Coombs farmer George Bradasch has had a similar problem to Dawes, although his livestock has not been killed. He says just a few weeks ago a couple of dogs spooked his cattle. He was concerned the cows would break a leg running away from the dogs barking. He did manage to catch one of the dogs and it was taken away and later released to the owner for a $30 fee. The owner did come and apologize but Bradasch says this is just one of four recent incidents.

All four incidents have involved different dogs from surrounding neighbours. All of the dogs have just been roaming loose. “The owners are the problem, not the dogs,” says Bradasch. “It does have a financial impact on you and it’s totally unnecessary,” he adds. He would like to see tougher legislation and for that legislation to be enforced. “We shouldn’t have to protect our livestock from domestic dogs that people should be controlling.”

Sheep slaughtered in Hilliers

October 17, 2013 John Harding - Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Five sheep are dead and three others — pregnant ewes due to deliver in three weeks — are fighting for their lives after allegedly being attacked by a pack of marauding pit bulls in Hilliers last week. The owner of the sheep is concerned children in the area are also at risk of attack.

One of the dead sheep — its name was Shirley — was raised as a pet by Amber Dawes' son Taylor. The dogs, who live across the Alberni Highway from the Dawes farm, killed Shirley and four other sheep on Thursday, Taylor's seventh birthday.

"They (the dogs) killed her on his birthday," said Dawes. "They ripped her apart — she was the first to go." Dawes offered some photos of the carnage, but The NEWS determined they were too graphic for these pages

Note: Comments in The Province article, Oct. 17th, sympathized with the farmers. I agree. The owners of these dogs should be held accountable. That’s where the fault lies. Unfortunately, the likelihood of these incidents being proven in our courts is virtually nil.  

BC SPCA Position Statement on Dangerous Dogs And Public Safety