Police in Victoria say a woman was pricked by a needle while walking her dog Tuesday night, one day after a similar incident involving a toddler at a downtown McDonald’s. According to VicPD, at around 7:30 p.m., a woman was walking a dog in the 700-block of Pembroke Street when the dog started to grab a paper bag next to a garbage can. Police said the woman moved the bag away from the dog and felt a needle prick her hand. She then saw several capped and uncapped syringes inside the bag. The woman is an employee at a nearby doggy daycare and her family says she was checked out at the hospital and is going to be fine. There is no indication that the bag was placed there with malicious intent, police said. Police believe the bag was not disposed of properly. One business owner, who didn’t want to be identified, says the area has been fairly clean until a few weeks ago. “We’ve seen needles just in the last couple of weeks and I think it’s one person, in particular, that’s just migrated over to this area,” he said. On Monday, police said a three-year-old was pricked with a needle from a syringe at a McDonald’s restaurant on Pandora Avenue. VicPD confirmed they were investigating and the franchise owner Wayne Krawchuk said he was working closely with police. The child was taken to hospital for testing.
While police say being punctured by a discarded needle is extremely rare, last May, a student from South Park Family school was punctured by a discarded needle while on a field trip to Beacon Hill Park. “We do look at these as isolated incidents although we do find it concerning we don’t see it as a regularized pattern,” said Island Health Harm Reduction Regional Manager. Island Health oversees the harm reduction program, where clean needles and other drug-injection equipment are handed out to users. Unlike an exchange program, users aren’t required to return needles to get new supplies, but Banner-Martin says the large majority do anyway. “From April 1, 2017, to September 30, they distributed just over 30,000 needles and they collected almost an equivalent amount, it just goes to show good supplies are being collected,” she said. After Tuesday’s incident, police are providing information on how to dispose of syringes properly. Victoria’s Public Works Street Cleaning Crew is available to pick up needles from public properties. They can be contacted 24 hours a day at 250-361-0400. To arrange for the removal of needles on private property, contact the Downtown Victoria Business Association Clean Team at 250-386-2238 from Monday to Friday, 8;30 a.m. to 5 p.m.