Victoria, Canada Man Says Bylaw Officers Tackled Him Over Off-Leash Dog

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A Victoria man says City of Victoria bylaw officers had no right to tackle him and pin him to the ground after he walked away in the midst of a lecture about having his dog off-leash.

Brad Rodgers said he was injured in the confrontation with the two bylaw officers, and several neighbours who witnessed the incident are stunned at what they say was an uncalled-for level of force over the issue.

Rodgers, 42, said he and about five other neighbours had their dogs off-leash at Oaklands Park around 8 a.m. Monday.

They saw two bylaw enforcement officers approaching, so Rodgers said he quickly leashed his shihtzu-maltese cross Buster.

Under the city’s animal control bylaw, dogs must be on a leash in all public places except for 12 designated off-leash areas. Oaklands Park is not one of those areas. A dog owner can face a $50 fine for having a dog off-leash where it’s not allowed.

One neighbour who was involved in the incident, Janice Riseborough, admits residents often allow their dogs off-leash despite the bylaw, but says it’s typically in the morning, when the park is empty.

The officers began reminding the group of the on-leash rule, but Rodgers walked away.

One officer called after him, demanding that he stay, and when he kept walking, the officer approached him and asked for his name and identification.

Rodgers admits he used some profanities when declining to give his name, and soon the two were almost nose-to-nose, yelling back and forth.

Under the bylaw, anyone with a dog is required to identify themselves to a bylaw officer when asked, and provide information about the dog. Someone who fails to give the information, runs away or prevents officers from doing their duty can be charged under the bylaw or criminally for obstructing a peace officer.

“He starts yelling that I have to stay,” Rodgers said, adding that he didn’t think he was breaking any rules. “All the people around couldn’t believe it.”

Riseborough said the officer grabbed Rodgers’ coat and started yelling to his partner that he needed help.

The partner ran over and tackled Rodgers to the ground, holding his hands behind his back as the other pressed his knee into Rodgers’ back, she said. “Before I knew it, the guy took Brad down and he took him down hard.”

Kathleen Moore was also there and described a similar scene, adding that the officer asked Rodgers if he had a weapon. “It was so disturbing. It did not have to happen.”

Rodgers said the bylaw officers held him to the ground until Victoria police arrived. Police listened to the two sides and sent the parties on their way.

Rob Woodland, the city’s director of legislative and regulatory services, alleges Rodgers assaulted the officer and both officers used force necessary to defend themselves.

Riseborough and Moore insist Rodgers was standing with his hands at his side and did not assault the officer. Riseborough said Rodgers was holding the dog leash in one hand and a bag of empty cans in the other.

Rodgers went to the hospital and was told the impact ripped the muscle away from his rib cage. He said he is considering civil action against the pair.

Ian Fraser, senior animal control officer for Victoria, said it’s not uncommon for animal bylaw matters to become criminal matters when people disobey the officers. However, it’s rare that it ends in a physical confrontation.

“Owning a dog is a regulated activity,” he said. “If you don’t obey the bylaw, there will be consequences.”

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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14 years ago

There are consequences of having too many regulations…and bullies always look for positions like this…think about it!

13 years ago

These bylaw goons have to stop acting like they are the Police. They are BYLAW officers and in no way should be able to tackle people because you dont want to give your information. Who are these BYLAW GOONS anyway. Did they get training at the Justice Institute of B.C.? I doubt it. They are just hired thugs by the city to terrorize citizens. Well I didn’t vote for them, and do not support these actions. Now if the guys dog was running a muck and causing problems then I could understand a bit more. But, his dog was well behaved and he put it on a leash. I don’t think he should have to answer to these thugs. They are not the LAW and he was not doing anything wrong. OH NO! His well behaved dog wasn’t leashed in a designated leash area. OMG! CALL THE POLICE, NOTIFY CSIS! I think most people can use their own discretion in these on/off leash areas. We live in a democracy right? Hmmm these guys are a bit too much like the SS….


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