Update: Aug. 20
A pit bull that killed another dog last week at an Osoyoos shelter also further harmed the breed’s reputation, according to an animal welfare advocate.
“In the stories it’s not going to be a dog killed another dog, it’s going to be a pit bull, and that’s a shame for the breed,” said Jamie Armer, manager of the B.C. SPCA branch in Penticton.
“It’ll stir up some emotion, just as it does every time (a pit bull) is mentioned in the press.”
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued a public warning Friday after a pit bull named Brutus killed another dog at the Osoyoos animal-control facility and was later unlawfully removed from the site.
RDOS spokesperson Andrew Stuckey said Brutus and his victim, a medium-size mixed breed, had been kept in separate enclosures, so it’s still unclear how the attack happened.
“It’s a bit of a mystery and they’re still investigating that,” Stuckey said, adding the dead dog’s owners have been identified, but officials have not yet been able to reach them.
Staff at the shelter provided the name of Brutus’s owner to police.
Osoyoos RCMP Sgt. Kevin Schur said in a statement the owner was contacted, but Brutus was not located and the investigation into the dog’s removal from the shelter continues.
Armer, who is unfamiliar with the Osoyoos facility, said the B.C. SPCA treats all of its canine guests the same, regardless of breed, and puts an emphasis on staff and animal safety.
New arrivals are kept by themselves for at least one night, after which they’re given a “very objective assessment that gives us clues as to their temperament, their underlying behaviours,” Armer said.
“It’s an independent assessment that we do on every single dog, so a chihuahua gets the same assessment as a pit bull.”
Following that assessment, dogs may be put together following a slow, controlled introduction process, said Armer.
“We would never just put two dogs that don’t know each other in an enclosure together,” he added.
Armer noted that while pit bulls don’t receive special handling, the B.C. SPCA knows they tend to go “stir crazy” in shelters.
“They like exercise and being sociable with people. They are one of the breeds that we see as needing to be adopted out quickly,” Armer said.
Both the Town of Osoyoos and the RDOS pay contractor Marshall Enforcement Services to provide animal-control service in the South Okanagan.
A woman who answered the company’s phone on Friday declined to comment.
The animal shelter is owned by the Town of Osoyoos.
Posted: Aug. 16
People in the Osoyoos area are being warned to look out for an aggressive dog that was taken from the town’s animal-control facility, where it killed another dog earlier this week.
The subject of the warning is a male American pit bull named Brutus, according to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, which released a picture of the dog Friday.
“This is basically an alert to warn people to take some extra precaution with their small pets and children, because the dog is known to be dangerous,” said Mark Pendergraft, who chairs the board of the RDOS.
He noted it’s unclear what led up to Brutus attacking the dog that died.
“Exactly what happened or how it happened, that’s being investigated,” Pendergraft said.
The RDOS learned of the incident on Thursday morning. That afternoon, someone broke into the animal-control facility and left with Brutus.
“We suspect it was probably the person who owned (Brutus), but we have no way of knowing,” Pendergraft said, adding the matter has been turned over to the RCMP.
The dog that died was a medium-sized stray, and officials are having a tough time locating its owner.
Both the Town of Osoyoos and the RDOS pay contractor Marshall Enforcement Services to provide animal control. A woman who answered the company’s phone on Friday declined to comment.
RDOS communications officer Andrew Stuckey confirmed the Town of Osoyoos owns the animal-control facility, and that staff there know Brutus’s owner.
Pendergraft said both the town and RDOS are seeking more information about the incident that led to the stray dog’s death, as well as the subsequent removal of the pit bull.
“We have to look into it to see if there was any fault by the contractor,” he said. “At this point, it doesn’t look like it, but until an investigation is done, it’s difficult to say.”
Osoyoos RCMP did not return a request for comment on Friday.