Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Her owner, Marie Fletcher, said she witnessed them pull her under the water before she was ale to break free, after suffering multiple scratches and bite marks. (Photo submitted)

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

A bizarre incident Friday morning on the Okanagan River Channel has a dog owner warning others to be cautious.

Marie Fletcher of Penticton was out for a walk with her husband, Joe, and their two dogs when her 36-kilogram (80-pound) lab cross, Penny, went for a swim, between the treatment plant and the Penticton Indian Band gas station.

Four river otters attacked the dog, Fletcher said, and tried to pull her under the water.

“I’ve seen muskrats in the channel but I’ve never seen river otters,” she said. “We just heard (Penny) crying as we were walking and we turned around to see her go under and pop up again crying.”

The dog managed to get free and swim to the shore, and the otters followed, until she got to her owners.

“They came right to us and just stared at us. It was scary. They were not afraid – they were aggressive.”

Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Here are some of the scratches and bites she suffered after she was pulled under water. (Photo submitted)

READ MORE: Northern B.C. city dealing with its own otter problem

Fletcher said they continued their walk to warn other people walking dogs, while the otters followed closely beside them in the water.

Penny got with away with scratches and bites, but they still took her to the Anderson Veterinary Clinic. She said the vet told her otters are not known to carry rabies, but she wanted a rabies shot anyway.

Penny, the 80 lb. lab cross, was allegedly attacked by four river otters while swimming in the Okanagan River Channel the morning of Aug. 23. Here are some of the scratches and bites she suffered after she was pulled under water. (Photo submitted)

Dave Cox said he’s been a conservation officer in the South Okanagan for 10 years and has never heard of an otter attack like this.

He said hopefully the incident is a “one-off,” but if the attacks become more frequent, they’ll put out a warning.

READ MORE: Staff relocating koi away from hungry otter at Vancouver Chinese garden

“Otters are not overly aggressive to people or animals. Normally, they’re only interested in fish or things of that nature,” said Cox.

“I don’t know if anything provoked it ,like maybe they had some juveniles from the spring around and they felt threatened or intimidated by the dog. But I’m sure in their world, they viewed this dog as a predator.”

Fletcher said Penny is not aggressive and would not attack another animal. Cox said otters are also not very territorial, so they were unlikely trying to protect their den.

Fletcher wants to warn other dog walkers and channel users, so they can avoid a similar incident.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Wet’suwet’en return to camps near Houston, Coastal GasLink workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Northern Health recommends self-quarantine for people returning from Hubei

The healthcare provider said it isn’t neccessary for healthy children to wear face masks

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Woman charged after alleged fuel thefts, ramming of RCMP car in B.C. Interior

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Most Read