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District bylaw officers investigating Seal Bay bear spray incident

SEAL BAY, B.C- An investigation into an incident at Seal Bay Nature Park is being handled by the CVRD.

That’s according to Inspector Mike Kurvers, leader of the Comox Valley RCMP detachment.

According to Kelly Wijdenes, who runs Pawsitive Dog Walking, the incident took place on January 15th in Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m.

Wijdenes told the newsroom that she had been walking with dogs in the off-leash area of the park, close to the Hardy Road entrance, and detailed online that a man had threatened them with bear spray.

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According to Wijdenes, the man went “out of his way” to move towards them with bear spray up, and ready to use. She said that he had been yelling that the dogs needed to be leashed, and if they weren’t, then she would be “solely responsible for what happened to them.”

She described him as a tall, older white man with an accent, though she could not place the exact accent.

According to Kurvers, the senior had been walking in the park when they were approached by a dog, and became fearful, pulling out bear spray.

No bear spray was sprayed, according to Kurvers. The district is now looking at what happened.

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Wijdenes wrote that the experience was very unsettling, and indicated that she had reported what happened to the Comox Valley Regional District’s parks department.

The parks department confirmed the report, and stated it was the first incident of its kind reported in Seal Bay.

That incident came after two confrontations in late November and early December involving an older couple in the community.

Photographs of the pair were later released to social media, and the Comox Valley RCMP spoke with the couple “at length” about the risks associated to their behavior.

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“The Comox Valley RCMP anticipate that this will address any future concerns with this couple in the area; however, if there are any other incidents, please call the Comox Valley RCMP to report and they will be investigated at that time,” read a statement from the detachment, issued earlier this month.

“No criminal charges are being considered at this time.”

Kurvers did not comment on whether or not the senior was one who had been involved in the earlier incidents. He maintained it was the CVRD’s park, with bylaw and animal control taking control of the investigation.

He also indicated that the bylaw and animal control officers don’t need to inform the RCMP of the investigation results.

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“People need to be aware it’s an off-leash park now, that’s all,” said Kurvers.

The CVRD has said that animal control officers are scheduled to be in Seal Bay more frequently over the next two weeks for public education, and sales of dog licenses.

“The inland side of Seal Bay Park offers leashing-optional trails,” read a statement from the district.

“Leashing is mandatory year-round on the water side of Bates Road and on the Swamp Loop trail.  In the spring (April 1 through to end of June) leashing is mandatory on all trails due to nesting and fawn season.”

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Concerns regarding off-leash dogs within district parks can be reported to Animal Control at 250-218-2365.

The district did comment on the identity of the man.

“At this time we have nothing to go on or any information to the identity of this gentleman,” read a supplied statement.

“Any information received by the CVRD on this incident will be shared with the RCMP.”

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