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City doesn't give up on destroying dog

April 13th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Thought you guys would be interested in reading about this Pittie trying to escape euthanasia by moving from Ontario to Quebec (he allegedly attacked and injured a woman in Ottawa). He is currently up for adoption at the Western QC SPCA:

City doesn't give up on destroying dog
Ottawa moves forward with case against Dozzer, despite the fact pit bull-like canine is out of reach

Katie Daubs and Chris Lackner
The Ottawa Citizen

Friday, April 13, 2007

The City of Ottawa is moving forward with its case to destroy an allegedly violent pit bull-type dog, despite the fact the dog is out of its reach and awaiting adoption at a Gatineau animal shelter.

Dozzer, a pit bull-mix accused of attacking an Ottawa woman walking her dog in November 2005, had his day in court set yesterday for July 11.

His former owner, Jeff Hickey, faces charges under Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act. The trial will determine whether the dog will be condemned to death through a court order.

Mr. Hickey was supposed to turn the dog over to the city in December 2005.

The city offered to drop the fines and a possible jail sentence if Mr. Hickey handed over his pet, but Mr. Hickey chose to keep Dozzer, according to his lawyer Cedric Nahum.

Yesterday, after a brief hearing at the provincial offences court to set the trial date, Mr. Nahum said the city will have to determine whether Dozzer fits the provincial definition of a pit bull-type dog, and whether Dozzer attacked the claimant.

But even if the city proves its case, Dozzer may remain out of reach in Quebec.

He is currently in the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Western Quebec, under the name Dozer, awaiting adoption, and has garnered a reputation as one of the most beloved and well-behaved dogs at the Gatineau shelter.

"We have no authority to take it and seize it," said Christine Hartig of the City of Ottawa's bylaw services. "With the cooperation of the SPCA, we could try to obtain the dog, but my sense is they wouldn't co-operate."

Dozzer may have already avoided a death sentence once in early December, when Mr. Hickey's mother dropped off the dog at Travelling Paws, a kennel and pound in Carleton Place.

Unlike Ottawa, Carleton Place does not have a municipal bylaw requiring shelters and pounds to euthanize pit bull-type breeds. But the business does contact the area OPP to find out whether the animals they take in have been involved in any violent incidents.

In Dozzer's case, no such record was found -- likely because the case was based in Ottawa, said Travelling Paws owner Connie Murphy, adding the pound also went on the "the family's word that there was no problem."

"We had no idea about his case history," she said. "He was a nice dog and got along with everybody here. There was no reason to believe he couldn't be re-homed."

Dozzer was sent to the Gatineau shelter because Travelling Paws was over-filled, and he had a better chance of being adopted in Quebec, she said.

Pit bull-type dogs were banned in Ontario in 2005 under revisions to Ontario's Dog Owners' Liability Act. However, existing pit bulls were "grandfathered" through the revised law as long their owners followed new stringent rules on their care.

According to the law, "grandfathered" pit bulls like Dozzer can still be adopted in Ontario -- but only by people who were pit bull owners when the laws came into effect and only to replace a pit bull they owned when the law was passed.

But the law also allows such dogs to be moved to other provinces, Ms. Murphy said.

Jennifer Montague, director of adoptions at the Gatineau shelter, said it is common for pit bulls from Ontario to be sent to Quebec for adoption -- where laws don't restrict ownership and there are more potential adopters.

Ms. Hartig said the city has no way of keeping tabs on dogs like Dozzer.

While both shelters have confirmed Dozzer is in Gatineau, Mr. Hickey's lawyer refused to confirm the dog residing in the shelter once belonged to Mr. Hickey.

"I can't even confirm it's the same dog. It's a very common name for a pit bull," Mr. Nahum said. He also argued Mr. Hickey's animal may not have committed the attack in question.

But Dozzer's alleged victim, Cheryl Hume, has no doubts about what happened in their 2005 run-in -- or what the dog's fate should be.

"If the law says euthanize him, I'm waiting for the law to work," she said.

Ms. Hume received 13 stitches and broken bones in both of her hands after a morning walk with her dog, Chico, turned sour after a meeting with Dozzer, and still suffers from arthritis related to the injuries.

The court case against Mr. Hickey has been adjourned for more than a year as a similar case questioning the constitutional validity of the provincial legislation was ongoing. In Cochrane v. Ontario, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled the Ontario Dog Owners' Liability Act was too broad in its definition of pit bull-type dogs.

Mr. Hickey was not in court yesterday. His lawyer said the City of Ottawa is not seeking any fines or jail time for Mr. Hickey -- only the euthanization of Dozzer.

April 13th, 2007, 08:10 PM
And therein lies the problem with this idiotic legislation.

Let's say "The Dawg" did in fact bite and injure "The Complainant". Let's say "The Owner" did not adhere to the legislation by using a leash and muzzle in all public places.

So, we kill "The Dawg" but do nothing to punish "The Owner" ? It is is ludicrous to call this law the Dog Owner's Liability act if the only party to the injurious behaviour ever held liable and punished (with death) is "The Dawg" ?

:yell: :yell: :yell: :yell: :yell: :yell: :yell: :yell:

Here's hoping for a speedy adoption Dozzer !