A photo posted to social media last week shows Gloria Klettke, 71, after the leash of a dog running free at Tyee Spit in Campbell River became tangled around her legs, causing her to fall.

Woman injured after dog runs free in on-leash park

Dog was wearing a leash but the owner wasn’t holding it

A Campbell River woman wants to raise awareness about the damage that an off-leash dog can cause.

Gloria Klettke, 71, says she was injured by a dog that was running free at Tyee Spit. It was wearing a leash but the owner wasn’t holding it or paying attention, she said.

“His leash wrapped around my legs, and I tried to push the dog and the leash away so I could get walking,” she said. “He took my feet right out underneath me. My head went straight into the pavement.”

The Labrador was only about five months old, but Klettke said her husband estimated that it weighed about 50 pounds.

They drove to the hospital, where she received stitches. A photo of Klettke posted to social media shows her right eye badly bruised and inflamed, with scrapes and cuts on her forehead and stitches around her eye.

“The bruise went right down to my neck, the whole side of my face,” Klettke said. The dog owner was highly apologetic, but others are often hostile when asked to keep their pets on-leash, including people with large dogs, she said.

“They just sort of look at you and tell you to eff off, mind your own business,” she said.

The city’s animal control bylaws limit off-leash dogs to Penfield Dog Park, which is located on College Drive in South Campbell River.

In any other public place within city limits, the bylaw states that dogs are required to be led by a leash “that does not exceed 1.83 metres,” or six feet, and dogs must be under “effective control of a competent person.”

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Exempt from the law are guide or service dogs, RCMP dogs and search and rescue dogs, provided they’re under control and performing one of those functions.

Karl Read, a bylaw enforcement officer for the city, said in an email that Coastal Animal Control Services (CACS) is contracted by the city to provide those services for Campbell River.

CACS also handles animal control for Wei Wai Kum First Nation land and Strathcona Regional District’s Area D, he said.

The incident involving Klettke was reported to the CACS and “is currently being investigated,” Read said.

He noted that leashing isn’t required in the Beaver Lodge Lands trails following consultations that took place several years ago involving the city, the provincial Ministry of Forests, Greenways Land Trust and the Beaver Lodge Trust Committee.

“Leashing of dogs in all other public areas within the city is required,” Read said.

Dog owners are advised to leash-up when approaching others in the Beaver Lodge Lands, according to an information pamphlet produced by the Greenways Land Trust. As for enforcement, police and bylaw officers have authority to enforce aspects of the bylaw, Read said.

However, “animal control matters reported to the City are referred to CACS for response,” he said.

Violations can result in a $100 ticket or a warning. Eight off-leash tickets were issued in 2017, seven in 2018 and four so far this year.

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