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Dog owner shocked by cat attack in B.C. community

Chihuahua cross has required $1,200 in care at vet so far
Langley City resident Courtney Dawson was surprised to learn there are no municipal cat control regulations after her dog, Cooper, was mauled by a pack of felines on Saturday, June 8.

After a swarming attack by several domestic cats badly injured her little dog, Langley City resident Courtney Dawson was shocked to discover animal control regulations don't mention aggressive felines in either the City or Township of Langley.

It happened Saturday afternoon, June 8, around 5:30 p.m. while Dawson was taking Cooper, a nine-and-a-half-year-old Chihuahua cross who weighs 11 pounds, for a walk when they passed by a house that is known to have a lot of cats.

At least five cats attacked them both, severely mauling Cooper, who required emergency surgery and multiple trips to the vet following the attack.

"He can hardly walk," Dawson told the Langley Advance Times.

"He has eight or nine injuries. Four of them are pretty bad, where they're very, very deep wounds. It looks like somebody took a knife and sliced my dog."

So far, Dawson's vet bills are nearing $1,200 and she expects the amount will go up even more because Cooper will require at least two more visits to the vet, one have his bandages removed, and another to have his stitches taken out.

"He's just a mess," she said.

"He's on two painkillers, he's on antibiotics. He's already on meds because he's already an anxious dog, so the vet said, you know, let's increase it a little bit just to help his nerves, but he's just a wreck right now. He's traumatized."

When Dawson tried to report the incident to the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) that handles animal control in both Langleys, she discovered there was little animal control officers could do because the municipal regulations don't mention cats.

"If cats injure somebody or another animal, there's no legal implications," Dawson said.

LAPS Executive Director Sarah Jones said the Township of Langley and the City of Langley have no regulations related to cats.  

In response to a Langley Advance Times question, Jones said that other municipalities do have bylaws related to overpopulation, permanent identification, roaming and welfare of cats, but there is no inclusion of aggressive cats that she is aware of. 

 In the community charter, the provincial regulations that set out municipal responsibilities, she said there's information about aggressive dogs and being able to seize an aggressive dog, but "there's nothing in there about cats.  Municipalities can write by-laws in general related to cats, but there's nothing under the community charter that we can actually seize a cat. So it would have to be under the [animal control] by-law. If the by-law doesn't include anything [about cats], then we have limited powers."

Dawson has gone online to push for aggressive cat control regulations, posting a message that called on the City council to create "a bylaw that will protect people and their domestic animals from vicious attacks by neglected animals. This is just absolutely unacceptable."

Late Tuesday, June 11, Dawson said she was informed the manager of animal control at LAPS was planning to visit the owner of the cats "and have a discussion [with them]."