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West Kelowna  

Fear of dogs forces family move

Following a story out of Peachland of a fatal dog attack that left two other dogs on death row, another dog owner has come forward claiming inequality and inconsistency with the Regional District's decisions.

Kimberly Leedam says two of her dogs were viciously attacked and killed in her Rose Valley neighbourhood by two other dogs, but unlike the Peachland situation, the attacking dogs were released back to the owner and she doesn't understand why.

She says they had lived beside the neighbour and his dogs for two-years without issue, but on that day something changed. The attack occurred on April 17, 2014 when she says her neighbour's off-leash dogs charged at them from their unfenced yard.

“The dogs came, they came flying through the hedge and there was nothing we could do,” says Leedam who claims her two small breed dogs, Juno and Chico, were “ripped apart” by the two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

“We had to wrap them in towels, they were just bleeding everywhere. We took them to the vets and as I took one inside I could hear my daughter screaming. His lungs were filling with blood and she could hear it,” says Leedam through tears. “We put him down right away and we tried to save her through surgery, but she died during the surgery.”

Leedam says the Regional District of Central Okanagan's decision to return the dogs to the owner in this case and only give them a dangerous dog designation, left her family in fear in their own neighbourhood and forced them to move in December.

“I was vehemently against the return of these dogs as we lived in the family neighbourhood of Rose Valley, exactly four properties down from the new Mar Jok Elementary,” says Leedam. “Something snapped that day with the dogs, something is wrong with them. So why would the RDCO, with the exact same situation, do two different things. It baffles me.”

RDCO spokesman Bruce Smith says despite the similar circumstances on the surface, the two situations were much different and each case is dealt with on its own facts.

“There is no black and white, there is a lot of grey in between, and that is what we find in an investigation, the grey,” says Smith. “On the surface it may appear we are dealing with the same thing, but it is not. It is two different cases and the investigation came out with two different sets of circumstances that were unique to each, that resulted in a determination of how the regional district proceeded.”

While Smith will not go into specifics of why this case was different, he says a thorough investigation was done and the circumstances were quite different.

“We investigate thoroughly and based on the facts we determine in the investigation determines on how we proceed,” says Smith. “The one thing I've seen in the last 13 years with the Regional District is that each case is very different.”

Leedam also claims the district never even came to their neighbourhood or to the owner's home, however Smith says the owner is not aware of the full details of their investigation.

"I do not understand the inequality and inconsistency with the RDCO’s decisions on cases of vicious unprovoked dog attacks that resulted in the death of a family pet or in our case family pets," says Leedam. 

“It is a case-by-case basis. Past history might come into it, previous civil court decisions comes into it and of course the investigation itself,” adds Smith.

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