An Airdrie resident is imploring dog owners in the city to be more aware of the city's animal control bylaws after an encounter this past Friday afternoon, which saw the family's dog run away after an alleged dog-on-dog attack and was missing for several days until she the dog was reunited with the family on Tuesday afternoon.
The resident, who asked for their full name to not be published, said that he was walking their two-and-half-year-old female Blue Merle Australian Shepherd, Izzy (Isabelle), through the off-leash dog park in the vicinity of Elizabeth Way.
"She's on a leash because we don't want her to be afraid; she walks very well on a leash and right beside me," he said. "We come across another dog and its owner."
Izzy's owner stopped and as he did, he alleges that the dog which was off-leash, which he described as a large black dog, charged at Izzy.
"The dog charged my dog and was chasing the dog around me. I took a kick at the dog to try and protect my dog. [Izzy] got out of her neck collar and ran away."
On Tuesday afternoon, Izzy's owner alerted Discover Airdrie that the family companion had been spotted in their neighbourhood and the owners were reunited with her.
"A happy ending," Izzy's owner wrote of their dog returning to them.
Izzy's owner said that because the family companion is a rescue dog, who had previously run away and was loose for five weeks before they were able to locate her, she is all the more skittish and fearful of other dogs.
"[Before this most recent incident] she was being chased off by other dogs from farmland. We had to take her to the veterinarian to make sure she was okay. She had a fractured femur; her top lip was torn away from the top part of her jaw and had to be sewn up."
In an emailed statement, Brian Rayner, Municipal Enforcement Team Leader confirmed that Municipal Enforcement is aware of the incident.
“We are aware of an incident involving two dogs that occurred at the Elizabeth Way off-leash park. The incident is still currently under investigation.”
Izzy's owner said that the owner of the dog that attacked Izzy and he got into a verbal and physical altercation at one point. He said the trauma of the incident is all the more heart-wrenching because the entire family has worked tirelessly with Izzy.
"My wife and I've fallen in love with this pet. We've built a relationship that's taken time, and very gentle care from those that surround us."
Izzy's owner said that when he called Municipal Enforcement, officers underlined that part of Airdrie's animal control bylaw stipulated that dog owners must, 'maintain control of their dogs in designated off-leash dog parks.' Izzy's owner believes that not all dog owners are cognizant of the rules and that those very rules apply even in off-leash dog parks.
However, he noted that he isn't generalizing that all dog owners are not aware of bylaws, underlining that he is appreciative when others in the dog parks expressly ask if their dogs can greet Izzy and that dog owners leash their pets when he explains that Izzy is timid around other dogs.
At last week's Municipal Policing Advisory Board (MPAB) meeting, Rayner who presented various statistics from 2023, said that animal bites statistics were trending downwards.
"I think this is related to COVID-19; when a lot of people had dogs, people were out more people were about," he said. "I'm hoping a lot of this is because of the new animal control bylaw, the education and people are getting a little bit better at dealing with these things. Although it's not reflected here, the seriousness of the bites has also decreased from what I have noticed."
According to Airdrie's animal control bylaw, if a pet owner does not leave an off-leash Area when ordered by an officer or returns before a 72-hour period is over, the Officer or returning prior to 72 hours, the minimum penalty is a $100 fine, while a specific penalty can be up to $250. If an animal barks or chases other animals, wildlife, livestock or other domesticated household pets, in a threatening manner the minimum fine is $100, while a specified fine is $200.
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