Pit bull cross, chihuahua owners must split costs for dogfight damage, judge rules

Eac side responsible for $577.43 towards injuries in Comox Valley incident

@germamechazu/Instagram

Two Comox Valley dog owners have both been found to be negligent with a dogfight in May 2017 following a civil court decision.

Earlier this year, tribunal member Shelley Lopez found Chihuahua owners Kalei Jeffery and Michael Wright along with pitbull cross owner Dawn Anderson (respondent) were both equally at fault for the dogfight and equally at fault for the applicants’ damages (Jeffery and Wright) following the fight in Courtenay.

During the late evening of May 16, 2017, Gracie, the pitbull cross, was involved in a fight with Chihuahuas Romeo and Cara.

At the time, and noted in the evidence and analysis, all dogs were off-leash and in a common parking lot that was part of the dog-friendly condominium complex. The dogfight did not occur on private property.

Lopez pointed out she accepts that “all parties loves their pets … I find that this dispute is not about pitbulls versus Chihuahuas and which breed may be more aggressive. Rather, I find that this dispute is about negligence and which dog caused the injuries.”

In speaking to liability, Lopez said all dogs were off-leash, and had the dogs been leashed, the dogfight could have been avoided.

The applications noted Gracie attacked their dogs as they were on their way out. They note the dogs had been in their arms, but that Jeffrey put Cara down “for a second” so Cara could go to the bathroom, and that is when Gracie went after Cara.

Lopez said the applicants do not explain why they did not have Cara or Romeo leashed, even if Cara needed to go to the bathroom.

In contrast to the applicants’ submission, the respondent said she heard dogs barking aggressively and saw Cara charged and barked aggressively at Gracie and that Gracie then ran toward Cara. The respondent said Gracie did not bark at all.

A police report stated Romeo and Cara got small scratches and bites when “they ran up to the pitbull,” and that Romeo and Cara sustained minor superficial injuries.

The applicants do not deny that Cara barked and charged at Gracie before the dogfight.

Lopez found Cara provoked the fight and was in a position to do so because she was not leashed.

Anderson said it is unknown which dog bit Jeffrey. She added her father separated Cara and Gracie by pulling Gracie by the collar into the house. The applicants said they tried their best to release the dog, and in doing so, Jeffrey’s dominant right hand was bitten severely by Gracie.

Lopez noted Jeffrey does not explain why she chose to put her hand into the dogfight, rather than using a stick, her purse, kicking or some other method that would be less like to cause injury to herself.

“Nothing turns on Gracie’s lack of bite or attack history, given I have concluded the respondent was negligent in Gracie being off-leash. I do find that Gracie likely bit Ms. Jeffrey, rather than one of her own dogs doing so. However, I also find Mr. Jeffrey was contributorily negligent in causing her own hand injury to stop the dogfight, particularly bearing in mind that she should have had her dog leashed.”

In terms of damages, the May 17, 2017 emergency vet bill for treatment on Cara and Romeo was $768.46.

Lopez found the Anderson must reimburse the applicants half of the bill – $384.23.

As for lost wages, Jeffrey claimed $3,000 which was equivalent of three months of lost work.

Jeffrey attended a hospital emergency room for the dog bite injury.

Evidence presented by two brief medical notes did not indicate a significant absence from work occurred or was expected.

“I find Ms. Jeffrey has not proved she needed to be off work for three month due to the dog bite. On a judgment basis, I find that based on the two medical notes before me, Ms. Jeffrey has proved she missed two weeks of work due to the dog bite,” explained Lopez.

Based on income evidence, Lopez found Jeffrey suffered $375 in lost wages and is entitled to half that amount – $187.50.

Along with pre-judgment interest, Lopez ordered Anderson to immediately pay a total of $577.43.

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

Just Posted

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

Pub seeks 55-seat patio on Oak Bay Avenue

Oak Bay invites businesses to expand onto sidewalks, parking spots

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read