Friday, February 23, 2024

Victoria Animal Control officers face scrutiny after handling of off leash dog (VIDEO)

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A video posted to social media following an incident with a senior and Victoria Animal Control officers has drawn sharp reaction from the community.

In an incident that unfolded near Craigdarroch Castle on Tuesday February 6th, 81-year-old Fernwood resident, Colin Kingsford, found himself in a distressing confrontation with Victoria Animal Control officers.

Leda Shields, who shares Kingsford’s story, sheds light on the encounter, sparking a call for accountability.

Kingsford, accompanied by his obedient puppy, Sydney, was enjoying a leisurely stroll near the historic landmark. Unaware of any leash restrictions, he allowed Sydney to roam freely.

However, his peaceful outing took a turn when three Animal Control officers approached him, insisting on leash enforcement.

According to Shields, Kingsford complied by leashing Sydney, but hesitated to disclose personal information as requested by the officers. Instead of issuing a warning, the situation escalated as the officers pursued Kingsford to his residence.

“At this point, the officers followed Colin in their van, while he was on foot, until they arrived outside my home, which is about a fifteen minute walk from the castle,” said Shields.

Victoria Buzz spoke with Kingsford about the incident, and when asked why he didn’t provide his information, he said his instinct was to be defensive due to the attitude of one of the animal control officers.

The video shows officers encircling him and attempting to confiscate Sydney as they pulled on the leash stating they intended to take the dog to the pound.

Kingsford said there was no way he was going to let go and risk losing his dog.

In Shields’s post on Victoria Buzz, she emphasized the potential danger posed by the officer’s aggressive handling of Sydney’s leash and calls attention to the broader implications had there been no witnesses to the incident.

After the officer released the leash,  Colin sought solace across the street, comforting his shaken companion while awaiting police intervention.

Despite Kingsford’s cooperation, the Animal Control officers proceeded to issue him a hefty fine, contradicting their initial promises of leniency.

“I’d like to call on Victoria Animal Control to drop this fine, and seriously reflect on how their Animal Control Officers conduct themselves with all members, but particularly, vulnerable and elderly members of our community,” said Shields.

Comments began flooding the post on Facebook with most siding with Kingford.

“Should be fired instantly. This is a complete abuse of power. Shame on you Victoria animal control. Picking a fight with a senior citizen walking his puppy in his own neighborhood,” said one commenter.

Another comment echoes the same sentiment: “I really hope he gets fired or suspended. This was handled so poorly.”

Victoria Buzz reached out to Victoria Animal Control for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

VicPD confirmed they were called to the incident at around around 3:30 p.m. in the 1000-block of Joan Crescent.

“The info we received was that Animal Control attempted to stop the man for making a bylaw infraction and he was not being cooperative, so VicPD was called to assist,” a spokesperson with VicPD said in an email statement to Victoria Buzz.

“Our responding officer was able to speak to the man without further incident.”

In an email statement, a spokesperson with the City of Victoria said they “have heard the community’s concern regarding the interaction between Animal Control and the resident this past week. The city will be following up with our service provider.”

We will update this story as more information comes available.

 

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Victoria Buzz Staffhttps://www.victoriabuzz.com
Your inside source for Greater Victoria happenings. Established in 2012.

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