Ottawa Bylaw Services says a spike in the number of reported dog bites/attacks over the past few years can be “attributed largely” to an increase in dog ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coun. Glen Gower asked Bylaw Services about dog bites and attacks back in May, saying, “There has been an increase in safety-related concerns within the community.” In April, a Stittsville resident raised questions about Ottawa Bylaw’s response after her neighbour’s pit bulls attacked her dog and one of them injured a 12-year-old boy.
Statistics provided to the Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee shows there were 150 reported dog bites and attacks in the city of Ottawa in the first three months of 2023, up from 103 incidents in the January to March period of 2022 and 130 in 2021.
Ottawa Bylaw says there were 711 incidents involving dog bite and attack incidents in all of 2022, compared to 652 in 2021 and 562 in 2020.
Bylaw Services Director Roger Chapman says there are several reasons for the increase in dog attack incidents over the last three years.
“Bylaw and Regulatory Services has in recent years noted an increase in reports of dog-related issues generally, likely due to an increase in dog ownership during the pandemic, along with pandemic-related closure of parks and of dog training facilities,” Chapman writes.
“Consequently, many families who welcomed a new dog into their family lacked the necessary resources and support to train and socialize their pets, resulting in an increased incidence of problematic behaviour.”
Bylaw Services has sought four “destruction orders” in 2023, and four orders were issued last year for dogs.
Chapman says Ottawa Bylaw Services have “sufficient and appropriate mechanisms” to address concerns about dog bites and attacks.
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