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Nasty attack resurrects call for increased dog control

Rod Carswell wants swift action taken after an attack by two dogs left him with with an injured hamstring. - Krista Siefken
Rod Carswell wants swift action taken after an attack by two dogs left him with with an injured hamstring.
— image credit: Krista Siefken

The search is on for a pair of dogs who attacked a cyclist on Tzouhalem Road.

Rod Carswell was biking on Saturday morning when he was assailed by the two canines.

“I was coming through the (Cowichan Tribes) reserve over the big, concrete bridge when two dogs came running out of the garbage and attacked me,” Carswell said. “I’ve never been closed in on that fast — it was like a bullet.”

Carswell had to get off his bike and use it as a shield to fend off the dogs. Even so, one was able to get past Carswell’s defence and chomp down on his hamstring.

Fortunately for Carswell, five separate drivers used their vehicles to block the dogs from the cyclist, and they eventually retreated.

“But here’s the kicker to the whole thing,” he added. “During the post-melee we’re all sitting around and reflecting on it, and along comes this 16-year-old blonde girl on a bicycle. Had it been her that triggered the dogs, the result would have been quite different.”

Carswell is a wildlife biologist who’s been face-to-face with a standing grizzly bear.

“I know terror when it comes to animals, but this was quite different because they were so fast, so vicious and so unpredictable,” he said. “It was terrifying, let me assure you. But my residual fear is that poor girl who could have been in the same situation.”

Carswell, who was taken to Cowichan District Hospital by one of the witnesses and given antibiotics and a tetanus shot, wants to see the feral dogs destroyed.

And this isn’t the first time Cowichan Tribes has heard complaints about wild dogs on reserve land.

Carswell stressed he was not criticizing Tribes, but he wants the matter dealt with promptly, before the animals have a chance to attack anyone else.

“Cowichan Tribes sympathizes with this individual and is saddened to hear of the incident that occurred within or adjacent to the Cowichan Reserve lands on Tzouhalem Road,” Cowichan Tribes general manager Maureen Tommy said in an emailed statement.

“Two Cowichan Tribes representatives have spoken to the man and will be meeting with him in person (Tuesday) afternoon. Cowichan will continue to work diligently on collecting all of the information to help identify the dog(s) responsible. If the dog(s) who attacked this man belong to a resident of the reserve, the band will respond in accordance to the Cowichan bylaws. This could possibly involve the removal of the dogs from the reserve to ensure the safety of the entire community.”

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP is also investigating the incident.

“Police are in the process of advising the SPCA as well,” Cpl. Kevin Day said. “It doesn’t appear at this time that the animals have been located.”

If they are found, Day said the matter would be referred to the SPCA.

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