Three pit bulls have been killed in Mount Currie after attacking a resident in the early morning of July 29.
RCMP members working for the Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police got a call at about 6:30 that morning to assist Emergency Health Services with a Mount Currie Band member who'd been attacked by pit bulls.
When the RCMP arrived they found one untied pit bull and two others tied up on the property in question. A female RCMP member approached the residence and was bitten by the untied dog, knocking her to the ground. She countered with pepper spray and her baton and a neighbour managed to catch the dog before he was also bitten.
The band member, "viciously attacked" by the three dogs according to a news release from the Mount Currie Band, sustained injuries to his arms and face that required about 53 stitches, according to Chief Lucinda Phillips. The RCMP member, seconded to the Stl-atl'imx Tribal Police, sustained minor injuries to her leg that required about four stitches for two puncture wounds.
The owner has since destroyed the dogs, according to Phillips. The injured community member is now back home.
"I think he's doing okay, a lot of bumps and bruises, scrapes, scars," she said. "Mentally... I haven't spoken to him yet, so I also need to follow up."
Asked whether these particular dogs or their owner had been the subject of complaints before, Phillips said she had been notified before that there were two or three problem pit bulls within the community.
"I know they've been flagged with me that there's two or three pit bulls within the vicinity of this area," she said.
The RCMP confirmed on Tuesday that the dogs had chased members of the community in 2008, and in June the owner received two complaints after the dogs attacked two people. At the time, the victims did not want to charge the dogs' owner or see the dogs destroyed. The owner said he would keep the dogs under close watch in the future, but it's not clear why one of the dogs was not tied up. Police are considering charges of criminal negligence causing harm.
Phillips said in a news release that the band will "not tolerate" any animals that show this level of aggression toward community members or anyone else.
She said that dog control has been an issue in Mount Currie for many years and that the band has taken steps with partners such as Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) to contain a significant dog population within the community.
Just last summer, Phillips struck a partnership with WAG and the SPCA to indiscriminately pull dogs off the streets if they weren't fenced in or tied up.
The initiative ultimately disappointed her. She said at the time that volunteers picked up an estimated 28 dogs off the streets, not as many as she hoped for and not the most aggressive ones.
Phillips clarified, however, that the dogs involved in Friday morning's attack were not ones that she identified during the operation last summer.