The Dog Police

                Today I saw a sight most interesting.  A woman walked into Oxford foods rather hurriedly, to pick up (I later learned) some food for her dog who she tied to a tree outside the store.  About two minutes after she went in, a van pulled up.  Two “official” looking men got out of the van and proceeded to untie a dog, which most certainly did not belong to them, from its post and usher the beast into the back of their van.

                There is a man who sits outside Oxford Foods everyday.  He is a nice man, who only takes money from strangers if they offer it to him.  This man tried to stop the other two men from, essentially, abducting the dog.  They ignored him.  He plead to them: “The owner just went in, I will go get her!”  They ignored him; the dog, by then, was inside the van.

                The man did everything to stop them from driving away with their purloined canine: he succeeded, but not without the other men threatening to call the police.  By then, a number of people who had seen all of this transpire came to the man’s aid.  The Dog Police closed their windows.

                Finally, the dog’s real owner came bursting out the doors to save her dog from the clutches of the two Dog Thieves, but not without receiving a ticket and a stern warning from them.  They essentially claimed that she was guilty of abusing her dog, by leaving it alone, tied up for over thirty seconds.  We were all dismayed.

                So, I phoned the number on the side of that van, only to talk to a very arrogant person on the other line who tried to convince me that I was a disruption to his very busy work day (I think I heard the Grey Cup Telecast in the background).  I think we need to do something about this.  Please feel free to give the Dog Police a call at (250) 414 0233.  Together, we might topple this insane regime.


Nick Lyons

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13 Responses to The Dog Police

  1. Amy Aikman says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. You can’t bring your dog in with you, but you can’t leave them outside for 2 minutes?

    • Kay Whitby says:

      Unfortunately that’s a problem between the city and business owners. The city gets to say whether you can leave your dog unattended on the streets, and the stores get to say whether you can bring your dog inside. I can see the reasoning behind both stances.

      Ideally, I imagine that if you think you might have to step in anywhere while walking your dog, bring a friend or family member so they can hold the leash while you’re in there. (Though I can see how that would be inconvenient too, I do think it’s preferable to just leaving the dog on its own, with or without a leash tie…)

  2. Chad Ryan says:

    That is ridiculous! Who are these dog police paid by? The city? I will not be leaving my dog tied up anywhere for any length of time until something is done about this.

  3. anopinionatedchica says:

    In-freaking-sane! Poor woman! She must have just felt HORRIBLE and angry! I get not leaving your dog for an hour while you get all your weekly family groceries, but isn’t that different from being out with your dog for a walk and running in somewhere to grab something??

  4. Kay Whitby says:

    Did some digging around and discovered that the phone number is for the Victoria Animal Control Services. Their website is lousy, but according to the Municipal website, they’re legit.

    Scroll down and they have the bylaws regarding dog attendance on the VACS site:

    – Dogs must be firmly held on a leash in all public places (except for Leash Optional Areas).

    – Dogs over the age of four (4) months must be licensed & display a current year tag on their collar.

    – Dogs can not be left unattended in any public place whether or not the dog is secured by a leash.

    – Owners are responsible for the immediate removal & lawful disposal of any excrement deposited by their dog.

    – Owners are responsible to ensure their dog does not cause a noise disturbance at anytime.

    – Owners are responsible to contain their animal (cat, dog, snake, bird, rabbit, etc.) to their own property. Animals found stray in public places or on private property without the permission of the occupier of the property can be IMPOUNDED.

    So according to the currently city bylaws, that woman can’t legally leave her dog outside without a sitter, no matter if it’s for thirty seconds or thirty minutes.

    Hard to tell from their presence and presentation, though. They really do look like some vigilante basement group at first glance. I don’t know if that’s due to a lack of funding, bad PR management, or people just not caring.

    • Chad Ryan says:

      So according to current bylaws, it is not possible to stop at the store while taking your dog for a walk. That doesn’t seem right to me.

      • Kay Whitby says:

        Right. Just confirmed it on the city’s official bylaw amendment:

        “Unless the dog is firmly held on a leash not exceeding 2.4m in length or a retractable lead of not more than 8m in length, fully extended, and held by a person competent to restrain the dog, no person shall at any time cause or allow a dog owned by that person to be in any street, lane or other public place or in any public park.”

        Animal Control Bylaw, Amendment Bylaw (No. 1) – No. 93-045 [PDF 31KB] (Emphasis mine)

        It makes a certain amount of sense to me, though. Even if it’s thirty seconds away, that dog is still within reach of children and small animals, and the leash could become unsecured. They have no way of accounting for the temperament of every dog that gets left out on a leash, so arguing that your dog wouldn’t attack someone isn’t really valid. And, should an unattended dog bite a child on the sidewalk, it wouldn’t be very difficult for the owner to slip out without being held accountable, provided the animal wasn’t licensed. Not to mention that your dog is at risk from thieves and abuse from passer-bys. I can see where they’re coming from on this.

        I mean, you wouldn’t leave your kid sitting outside on the sidewalk while you went into the grocery store. Why do it with a pet?

      • Chad Ryan says:

        You do have a point there.

  5. memercer says:

    I once saw a dog left outside a grocery store, when I went inside the clerk told me the owner had forgotten their dog tied in the front after they made the purchase. Sure there are a lot of good dog owners out there, but there are a lot of bad ones too. It’s nice to think that someone is looking out for the animals.

    • Thanks for reading, Mary Ellen. I totally agree with you that someone should look after abandoned animals. In the situation I wrote about, however, I think it is quite obvious that the dog’s well-being was not the issue, as the two abductors were informed that the owner of the dog had just went in the store. I think this is the problem. This is a business, remember, and though ideally, they might have the well being of animals in mind, too often it comes down to dollars and cents (not to be confused with ‘sense’, as this was a totally senseless act).

      • Kay Whitby says:

        True, and they may have been trying too hard to make a point. On the other hand, they had no idea when the woman was intending on coming back out, or whether she might have claimed her dog to appease them, and then tied it back up and gone right back inside the store. I have the feeling that happens a lot to them.

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