Skip to main content

Spike in pet attacks prompts Sudbury councillor to call for stricter penalties

Share

An increase in pet attacks has prompted a Sudbury city councillor to call for a re-evaluation of the consequences to deter owners from allowing their pets off the leash.

Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent said he's received numerous calls about attacks from residents in the past few months.

"In some of the situations either the person or their pet was injured," Parent said.

"When I was hearing people sharing their stories of how they were injured or how their spouse was injured, it made it very real for me which is the reason why I started doing more inquiring."

Parent reached out to Greater Sudbury bylaw officers, who respond to pet attacks.

"I was surprised to find out we have double the rate of incidents of dog attacks than we had the previous years," Parent said.

"In 2022, we 270 vicious pet attacks and by July of this year, we had already had 230 of such calls."

During the next committee meeting, Parent will be presenting a motion asking that staff research what other municipalities are doing to deter pet owners from allowing their dogs off-leash.

An increase in pet attacks has prompted a Sudbury city councillor to call for a re-evaluation of the consequences to deter owners from allowing their pets off the leash. (Photo from video)

Currently, owners are legally mandated to keep dogs on a leash on public property, with the exception being off-leash dog parks. Pet owners found violating the law could be fined $300.

"We're looking for staff to confirm with other municipalities to find out what they are doing to deter off-leash pets and look at our consequences,” he said.

“Do we need to bring in larger consequences to make sure people are responsible with their pets and keep them leashed and away from others?"

Dog owner Bill Crumplin walks his rescue dog four times a day at Bell Park. He said he rarely sees dogs off-leash at the park or in his neighbourhood.

LAST WALK OF THE DAY

"The only time I've ever noticed it is when it’s late at night when we're doing our last walk of the day," Crumplin said.

"And in the last six months, maybe three times. I haven’t noticed it often at all."

A few others walking at Bell Park said they've noticed off-leash dogs at specific trails, like the Laurentian Conservation Loop.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts said that pet attacks should be reported to them, in addition to the city.

"We do, for dog bites, what's called a 10-day observation period with no signs or symptoms of rabies," said the health unit’s Jon Groulx.

Groulx said their role is to confirm that there's no chance of rabies, the pet's vaccination status and offer resources.

Parent said the increase is, in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During COVID times, we saw people bring pets into their homes that did not before,” he said.

“So we saw a large increase in pet owners and when you have pet owners, you could have irresponsible pet owners.”

Parent will be presenting the motion next week. 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Stay Connected