Aggressive 'Justin' beaver attacks dogs, scares swimmers
Jeff Lawrence and Jessica Lepp, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, July 28, 2016 6:29PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 28, 2016 6:45PM PDT
There’s something lurking in the water at a popular Port Alberni swimming hole: it’s a beaver, it’s fierce, and its name is Justin.
That’s right, Justin Beaver.
And just like his celebrity namesake, there’s growing concern with the critter – following reports of vicious attacks on other animals and swimmers at the Somass River.
“He’s got some pretty big ferocious claws and teeth,” said Fiona Gibson, who said she was once charged by the aggressive animal.
“He came at me! I was surprised, it’s not something you expect from a beaver or a rodent,” she said.
Justin’s aggressive antics are so well-known that he’s even been ratted out to the BC Conservation Officer service.
“The Conservation Officer Service received a report that there was an aggressive beaver that possibly attacked a resident’s dog,” said CO Daniel Eichstadter.
The beaver is notorious around Port Alberni for angrily attacking anyone who treads foot on his territory, which some say is the entire riverfront area.
Dog owner Mark Thomson said he’s been around for a while, too. Four years ago, Thomson’s dog Max was attacked at the same swimming area.
“The beaver went under, grabbed Max, picked him up and then brought him back down,” he said.
The dog was left with a bloody gash on its abdomen.
Swimming hole enthusiasts say something needs to be done about the beaver’s bad behaviour before things get worse.
“I’m afraid for the children’s safety mostly, and for the dogs, because if it gets them in the water that’s where he’ll attack them,” said Gibson. “On land he’s a little fat and slow.”
But conservation says the rodent is just acting in defence, and the public needs to do its part to steer clear and keep dogs on a leash.
Eichstadter confirmed the service would not be relocating the beaver.
Justin was a no-show today for CTV’s cameras, but with some footprints and felled trees in the area, there’s evidence he wasn’t far away.