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Disabled man's dog is aggressive and often runs loose, couple say

Couple has witnessed several incidents where dog has attacked others.

A Langley City couple said they have witnessed multiple incidents of bad behaviour by a dog belonging to a disabled man who complained he was unfairly fined $100 for letting the canine run off-leash.

Sheila Webb and Ib Meyer-Obel came forward after The Times reported on the incident involving Ed, a three-year-old Pomeranian belonging to Kevin Steele, who ran afoul of a City of Langley bylaw officer last month.

In the June 6 article, Steele told The Times that Ed, whom he described as a service dog, has a calm, laid-back personality that is soothing to be around.

“Everybody loves Ed,” said Steele.

Webb and Meyer-Obel told a different story.

The couple, who recognized Steele and Ed from the photos in the paper, said the dog is often badly behaved and aggressive toward other dogs.

“This dog is out of control,” Webb said.

She said she personally witnessed two separate incidents last year where the unleashed Ed got into a scrap with another dog, one about his size and the other a lot bigger. Both were on leashes.

There were no injuries either time, Webb said, but it was clear Ed is not quite as mellow as Steele claims.

“His little dog has got the quite the temper,” Webb said. “It should go back to get trained. And so should he.”

Webb and Meyer-Obel said they have had to lift up their own dog to get her away from Ed on more than one occasion.

The fine, they said, was warranted.

“Okay, he likes his dog,” Meyer-Obel said of Steele. “Everyone likes their dog. Unfortunately he’s one of those who lets his dog roam and expects everyone to accept it.”

Steele, a 51-year-old former driller, lost one leg in a 2009 workplace accident that left him permanently disabled after a 1,350-lb. pipe fell on his head.

A letter from his psychologist says Ed is “more than just a typical pet” who has “become one of his [Steele’s] main coping strategies” for dealing with the loss of his leg and related pain.

Steele said he intends to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal that he is being discriminated against as a disabled person.

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson has worked for a variety of print and broadcast outlets in Canada and the U.S.
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