SURREY — Two Surrey pit bulls are going to be euthanized after two attacks in two months.
First, the dogs attacked a Surrey couple on Oct. 9 near Tynehead park, said Surrey’s bylaw manager Jas Rehal. The dogs then attacked a senior in the same area last Sunday, he added.
The victim is said to have suffered “pretty serious bites to the arm.”
Rehal told the Now that the city labelled the pit bulls as “dangerous” after the October attack. That meant the dogs were required to be muzzled and on a leash when outdoors.
“But these ones got free and were not muzzled and were at large,” he said of the recent attack.
While the city knows who the victim is, they have not come forward with a statement, said Rehal.
“When we got word of the attack, and attended the scene, no one was around,” he noted. “So there’s been conflicting information.”
It took the city a couple days to confirm the dogs were indeed the ones responsible for the earlier attack. But it has now been confirmed and the dogs have been seized, said Rehal.
“The case is not over,” he noted. “They’re subject to heavy fines as well. Our first priority was to deal with the public safety risk. Now that that’s done, officers are going through the investigation. Do we go down the road or fines, or pursuing charges?”
As per Surrey’s bylaw, they are subject to a $2,400 fine per dog, he added.
Rehal said most municipalities used to mention specific breeds in their bylaw, but around 2000, many began changing the wording to “dangerous dog” instead of just certain types.
Currently, Surrey’s bylaw defines a “dangerous dog” as one who has “attacked, bitten or caused injury to a person or has demonstrated a propensity, tendency or disposition to do so; a dog that, while running at large, has attacked, bitten, killed or caused injury to a domestic animal” or a dog that has attacked a person without being provoked.
If dogs considered dangerous attack someone and are impounded, the fee to get the animal back is $5,000. And if it has injured someone, the pound keeper can detain the dog to seek an order to have it destroyed. If the order isn’t granted, the owner must pay a $5,000 fee to get it back.
Dangerous dogs are also subject to higher licensing fees in Surrey. Licences for neutered dogs cost $41.50 in Surrey while licences for dangerous dogs cost $268.
Rehal said Surrey is in the process of reviewing its dog bylaw, to see if it can be strengthened.
“For our review, we’re engaging with the experts in the field as well as looking at other municipalities in the Lower Mainland and the country, because there are other reviews going on,” he added, noting a report with the review’s findings will be revealed in January.
Surrey has had other serious attacks this year.
On June 20, a 65-year-old woman was attacked by a dog outside the Mac’s convenience store at 92nd Avenue and Scott Road.
Ten days earlier, four women were rushed to hospital after they tried to break up three pit bulls who were fighting. Media reports said the dogs were put down.
In 2015, Surrey had 327 reported dog attacks, ranging from a dog lunging at another dog to full-on attacks like seen in Surrey recently.