City of Dawson Creek investigates complaints of dog attacks on letter carriers
'We get a lot of unrestrained dogs that will charge the letter carriers,' says Canada Post supervisor
The city of Dawson Creek is assessing a "vicious dog" after hearing complaints from Canada Post that it has attacked letter carriers on three different occasions.
And in the future, the city will also be working with Canada Post and the SPCA to better track problem animals in the city.
"We get a lot of unrestrained dogs that will charge the letter carriers," said Paul Dunsmore, the letter carrier supervisor for Canada Post in Dawson Creek.
"It's quite common to have dogs that are loose that come after us."
Dunsmore made a presentation to Dawson Creek council following multiple complaints from employees about the dog. On one occasion, the animal cornered a carrier until she used pepper spray on it, he said.
More recently, the dog bit one of Dunsmore's employees, causing her to miss work.
"It's not just my letter carriers that I'm concerned about, it's everybody," said Dunsmore. "The neighbours are saying they can't go for evening walks. You've got kids that use that street every day to get towards their school."
Dog must wear muzzle and remain on-leash
Kevin Henderson, Director of Development Services for the City of Dawson Creek, confirmed that the dog did bite a letter carrier, and that the South Peace SPCA had conducted an investigation on behalf of the city.
Following that investigation, the dog was classified as "vicious", meaning it has to wear a muzzle and be leashed when it's in public areas.
Dunsmore asked council to go further and have the dog assessed to find out how much of a risk it poses to the public.
The dog owner, whose identity was not released, is cooperating with the city. Officials have not released the dog's breed.
"Council agreed with that," Henderson explained.
"What we're tasked with is to find somebody that's a bit of an expert in the field and get them to assess the dog. Examining the dog, if they feel that there's any risk of it happening again, or if there's any increased danger with this particular animal."
In August, Dawson Creek took the unprecedented step of ordering two dogs seized and euthanized following an investigation from the SPCA and bylaw officers into multiple compaints about the dog, including an attack on a golden retriever.
Henderson said the euthanization never took place because the owner left town shortly after the order was issued.
Pilot project to track dangerous animals
The city of Dawson Creek, Canada Post and the South Peace SPCA will also be working on a pilot project to help keep track of potentially dangerous animals in the city.
Lines of communication between letter carriers and the SPCA, which runs animal control for the city, will be opened to report incidents of attacks or dogs that employees perceive as dangerous.
Dunsmore said he also wants to educate the public about the importance of training and controlling pet dogs.
"It's not the dogs, they're just doing what a dog's supposed to do," he said. "I think the education part's going to help out the most."
To hear Dunsmore describe what it's like to be attacked by a dog, click on the audio labeled 'Shock, stitches, and stress: Dawson Creek letter carrier explains what it's like to be attacked by a dog'.