Goldie contemplates her near-death adventure with a group of very tough otters. (Photo courtesy Kindred Spirit Veterinary Hospital)

Victoria dog attacked by otters off Dallas Road

Off-leash dogs and wildlife can make for a poor mix, veterinary staffer says

A Victoria veterinary hospital is warning owners of water-loving dogs to keep their pets on a short leash if otters are nearby, after a peaceful walk along the shoreline on Tuesday quickly turned into a harrowing adventure for Goldie, a golden retriever mix.

Dr. Claudia Campbell’s dog was being walked along the Dallas Road shoreline and decided it was a great day for a swim. Having spotted an otter swimming close by, Goldie she set out to investigate. The otter was having none of it, and as the dog swam closer she was set upon not only by the first otter, but two others.

By the time the dog walker made his way into the waist deep water to rescue Goldie, the otters had latched on and were dragging the hapless 60-pound canine under the water.

“This sort of thing is far more common than people realize,” explained Brian Emery, office manager at Kindred Spirits Veterinary Hospital, where the dog was taken for treatment.

”We live in an area where there is a lot of wildlife and, when cornered or threatened, that wildlife will turn on whatever they perceive as a threat and stand their ground. The good news is that Goldie is fine, and I suspect the otters are fine, as is the dog-walker … he was cold and wet, but fine.”

Emery reported that, while Goldie had definitely suffered some superficial bites, it was likely her thick coat of fur that saved her from serious injury.

The otters, it seems, were in their element and took advantage. “They latched onto her on her back end, well away from the “bitey part” of her body. They really are very smart,” Emery said, chuckling.

The encounter serves as a cautionary tale for dog owners who have their pets off-leash in areas where wildlife may be present.

“Dogs are coming into contact with, not only otters, but creatures like raccoons, who are very self-respecting animals who will tend to try to move away, but if cornered will defend their territory,” Emery noted.

The Capital Regional District website says river otters, a relative of the weasel family, are relatively common along the Victoria waterfront and while they appear playful, they may attack if threatened.

Deer can also present a risk to off-leash dogs, Emery said, particularly in spring when fawns are present, as adult deer will defend their offspring if they see a dog as a threat.

His advice for dog owners is to take a few moments to scan an area for wildlife before allowing their pets to roam off leash. And if wildlife appears, it’s always a good idea to leash your canine friend and wait for the potential threat to pass.

– with files from the Canadian Press

editor@vicnews.com

Pets & People

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read