Residents say it’s time to learn from last week’s fatal dog attack.
On Aug. 2 a pit bull killed an 11-pound cockapoo that got loose from its property.
The pit bull, which police said was involved in prior incidents, was put down three days later.
“Let’s change the bylaw,” said Liz Giesbrecht, who was looking after the small dog at the time of the attack.
She said she was outside with the cockapoo when he got out from under the fence. She quickly ran after him, calling his name.
Giesbrecht said the dog approached the pit bull that was leashed at the time but noted the owner was having a hard time controlling the large dog, which started lunging forward.
According to police, the pit bull got free from its leash and owner long enough to attack and kill the smaller dog.
Giesbrecht said about eight neighbours had gathered in an attempt to get the pit bull off of the cockapoo.
One eyewitness said the owner unclipped the collar from the pit bull.
Previous reports said neither owner will be charged as both were deemed to have some level of responsibility for the deadly occurrence.
Since the attack, a spokesperson for the City’s Municipal Enforcement (ME) department said officers have increased the amount of off-leash tickets handed out.
But Giesbrecht isn’t convinced this will solve the problem.
“This was an unexpected event,” she said, noting that she wasn’t intentionally letting the dog wander off-leash.
“What if this had been a kid (who got out)?” she asked, saying she feels responsible for the loss of the cockapoo, which belonged
to her friend.
She also thinks the owner of the pit bull did the responsible thing by handing over her pit bull.
But Giesbrecht wonders how a dog — with a history of prior incidents — was allowed in public without some sort of precautions in place such as a muzzle or stronger leash.
She said the owner was petite and seemed to be having a hard time controlling the dog.
According to a City report, there were 45 recorded dog bites between February 2008 and 2013.
In that time, five dogs have been euthanized.
People were bit in two of the incidents, while the other three incidents were dog bites to other canines.
Currently, Airdrie’s dog bylaw doesn’t include a clause for violent dogs. In 2012, ME told the Airdrie Echo amendments to the bylaw were coming that would include a violent animal clause.
Last week Lynn MacKenzie, team lead for ME, said the bylaw will come to council in the fall.
She couldn’t say what amendments are being proposed and if the proposal includes adding a violent dog clause.
Giesbrecht said she will attend the meeting in the fall because she wants changes.
She said she was also frustrated that had the owner not handed over the pit bull, her only recourse would have been to go through the courts.
In Alberta, for a dog to be euthanized, an owner has to surrender its pet or it has to be determined through a court process that a dog is dangerous.
“There’s nothing that can be done right now. Why not put in some precautions because there are risks,” she said.