@germamechazu/Instagram

@germamechazu/Instagram

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

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

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Kelowna school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say they are self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Members of the Vernon Flying Club. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
WATCH: ‘Total freedom’: pilots fly in formation over Okanagan cities

Black Press Media got a first-hand look at what the Okanagan looks like, from above

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near South Okanagan schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read