HERGOTT: Accountability of being a pet owner

HERGOTT: Accountability of being a pet owner

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Regional animal control officer Wayne Belleville was quoted as saying: “I think it would be anyone’s worst nightmare; a dog ripping your face apart.”

A 76-year-old Osoyoos woman had been knocked down and mauled. Injuries to her face were so severe she had to be airlifted to Vancouver for surgery.

The large dog attacked again when Mr. Belleville went to investigate. It slipped out of its collar and sunk its teeth into Mr. Belleville’s arm.

Mr. Belleville, a lover of dogs, was sickened not only by the incident, but also that he had to be involved in the dog’s euthanasia.

He emphasized the need to take the time to socialize pets. And if a guard dog, to ensure they are properly contained.

RCMP Sgt. Jason Bayda was quoted as saying “This incident is a sad reminder of what can happen when a dog is not socially trained and is not secured”. Also showing concern for the dog, he noted “Not only do we have a situation where two people were injured, we also have a situation where the dog needed to be put down”.

I posted about the incident on Facebook, inviting column topic ideas.

Responses mirrored the comments of Mr. Belleville and Sgt. Bayda, emphasizing the responsibility of dog owners along with compassion for the dog.

One commented: “It’s our job as pet owners to control our pets and teach them right from wrong….every pet owner should be aware of what their dog is like and take precautions to keep everyone safe.”

She continued: “However, I don’t agree with this dog being put down. Dogs aren’t born mean. It’s a lack of training and a reflection of the owner(s)”.

Another: “Disappointed in the care, discipline and raising of this pet. Show the Love and pets show unconditionally.”

And another: “No bad dogs, just bad owners. Yup. It’s as much a pet owners responsibility to make sure their pet is safe and others are safe from them. Not just “control” them but make sure they are socially adept so that the dog doesn’t have to go through unnecessary stress either. Common sense… but it is not that common.”

I remember hearing the gun shots of my pet dog, and my brother’s, being killed by my father after they got a taste for chickens on the farm. Perhaps it’s my upbringing, or a correct assessment by a long ago girlfriend that I’m “emotionally dead”, but my concern is not with the dog.

My concern is with the elderly woman whose face was ripped apart.

And the many others who are attacked from time to time causing less serious injuries.

And owners of small dogs who undergo significant vet bills and sometimes the loss of their pets when uncontrolled larger dogs attack.

I overwhelmingly agree that responsibility lies at the feet of the attacking dog’s owner.

A dog’s owner has complete control over how much time and energy is spent socializing and training the dog. And to what extent, if at all, the dog is given freedom beyond the length of a leash.

Does accountability breed motivation and commitment?

Is it common sense that the higher the accountability of pet owners for damage caused by their pets, the more motivated and committed they are likely to be to ensure their pets don’t cause damage?

Would increased accountability lead to increased time and energy spent on socializing and training? And to an increased level of caution about letting them off leash?

And might it lead to the choice of smaller, more docile types of pets capable of inflicting much less harm than larger, more aggressive types?

In my next column I will review the level of accountability of dog owners in our current laws and ask whether we think that might need to change

Missed last week’s column?

HERGOTT: ICBC, COVID-19 and an injury claim

About Paul Hergott, Personal Injury Lawyer:

Paul began practicing law in 1995 in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to and passionate about pursuing fair compensation for personal injury victims, which has gradually became his exclusive area of practice. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC nor for other insurance companies.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hergottlaw/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/personalinjurylawfirm/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hergott_law?lang=en

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/HlawCanada

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

dog attack

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

Just Posted

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

People in Kelowna’s City Park on May 18, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Downtown Kelowna’s City Park scheduled for facelift

Designs for the future of City Park unveiled; construction to begin fall 2021

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Driver found guilty of causing death, injury in 2018 Kelowna crash

Travis Ryan Hennessy will face sentencing at a later date

(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News staff)
UPDATE: Downtown stairwell fire suspicious, Kelowna RCMP say

The fire was knocked down at Gotham Nightclub

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna, West Kelowna still looking to opt-out of speculation tax

Mayors say spec tax has missed the mark, revenue largely coming out of Canadians’ pockets

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Heather Barker. (File)
Manslaughter charge laid in Vernon woman’s 2018 death

Shaun Ross Wiebe, 43, faces manslaughter and assault charges related to the death of Heather Barker

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

The City of Vernon is sending a letter to the provincial government to request that church be deemed an essential service amid the pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon mayor scolded for revealing stance on making church essential

Coun. Scott Anderson calls Cummings’ actions ‘arrogant’

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

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

Most Read