Dogs taken in custody after repeated attacks in Cowichan Bay estuary area

Two dogs are in Cowichan SPCA custody after biting a child, then attacking a cyclist on Tzouhalem Road the following day.

The two dogs — which also attacked a cyclist in August — bit a child on Wednesday, and then attacked cyclist Suzanne Thur on Thursday at about 5 p.m.

Thur was riding across the Koksilah Bridge through reserve land when the dogs rushed her and knocked her to the pavement.

“Then, while I was still clipped into my bike pedals, they attacked me,” she wrote in a letter to the News Leader Pictorial. “It was a horrifying experience.”

Taken to Cowichan District Hospital by ambulance, Thur spent the next two hours in the ER where she received 21 stitches.

“I am indebted to strangers who attended to my medical needs, helped divert traffic and kept me safe,” Thur added. “To the dog owners, and to those people with the bylaw responsibilities, your negligence is shameful.”

RCMP officers, Cowichan Tribes representatives, and SPCA staffers were called to the scene of the attack, and the SPCA apprehended the dogs.

“They still have the dogs and are doing some behavioural assessments,” Cowichan Tribes’ land and governance manager, Larry George, said on Monday afternoon.

Tribes’ general manager, Maureen Tommy, confirmed the two canines are the same dogs that attacked Rod Carswell at the end of August.

“At that time, we worked with the SPCA, and the dogs were put under quarantine for 14 days at the home,” she said.

“The SPCA assisted with that, and provided a dog house, food and monitoring.”

The quarantine was required under provincial law, since the dog that bit Carswell had not had a rabies shot.

“Since that time, our bylaw officer has made attempts to have the dogs removed, but was unsuccessful,” Tommy said.

The attempts were unsuccessful, George added, mainly because the dogs’ owners did not want to give them up.

But now the dogs’ fate rests in the hands of the SPCA.

“We’ll wait to hear back from the results of the behavioural assessment,” George said. “That’ll determine what our next steps will be.”

Tommy, meanwhile, said Cowichan Tribes is working to manage concerns about aggressive dogs on reserve land.

“Proactive steps Cowichan Tribes is taking include reviewing and revising our bylaw (the Cowichan Indian Band Animal Control Bylaw),” she said.

“Proactive steps also include licensing requirements, and we also provide tickets for free spaying and neutering of pets.

“We are very concerned for the safety of our community members and our neighbours, and it’s difficult to see when harm comes to people.”

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