Ross River, Yukon residents menaced, attacked by stray dogs

Some people in Ross River are worried and frightened by the number of roaming stray dogs in the community. One woman recently fought off an aggressive dog with pepper spray.

'I haven't been this afraid, ever,' said one lifetime resident

There is no municipal government in Ross River, Yukon, and no local dog bylaws. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

Fran Etzel has lived in Ross River, Yukon all her life, so she's seen plenty of stray dogs wandering around over the years. But she feels things are different now.

"I haven't been this afraid, ever," Etzel said. She says there seems to be more and more menacing dogs roaming the community these days. She recently started carrying pepper spray to protect herself.

"I'm always living on edge," she said. "Every time I hear a dog bark or somebody yelling, I'm outside looking — is there somebody needing my help?"
Stray dogs wander the streets of Ross River in this 2011 file photo. (CBC)

Etzel said people often come to her door to escape aggressive dogs. She said a young girl recently showed up with bite marks up her leg. Etzel herself was attacked last week as she was walking her grandson home.    

"A vicious dog just came out of nowhere," Etzel said. She managed to fight it off with pepper spray and neither she nor her grandson were hurt. But Etzel was definitely shaken.

The aggressive dog was later shot by an RCMP officer.

"They seem to be running at large. Most of them look really thin, they're hungry and not looked after and you don't know what might happen," Etzel said. "I'm so afraid for kids and elders, or anyone that's defenseless and not able to fight these dogs off."

'They should get rid of them'

Ross River doesn't have a municipal government, or dog bylaws.
'Nobody's feeding them, they're starving,' said resident Dorothy Smith, who believes there needs to be a cull of stray dogs. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

Resident Dorothy Smith said dog owners are not keeping their pets under control and the Ross River Dena Council should take action and start killing stray dogs.

"Nobody's feeding them. They're starving so they should get rid of them, because nobody owns them," Smith said.

"I think the chief and council should take the responsibility and do what they should have done long ago."


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