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B.C. tribunal awards woman $900 in vet bills following dog fight

One of the dogs appeared to be in a "state of heightened alertness, bordering on aggression," according to one witness.
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A witness account was consistent with the account of the goldendoodle owner, the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal found.

A B.C. Staffordshire terrier owner must pay a goldendoodle owner $901 in vet bills after the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal determined which dog initiated a fight between the two.

Christina Jieun Woo said Emalie Laframboise’s Staffordshire terrier Maple attacked her dog Latte and caused injuries that required veterinary care, including a $901 surgery.

Laframboise disputed the claim and said Latte instigated the attack and that Maple acted in self-defence, tribunal member Leah Volkers said in her April 19 decision. Laframboise claimed her dog too required veterinary care for injuries.

Laframboise claimed Woo began harassing and threatening her after the attack, which she says has exacerbated her anxiety, depression, OCD and fibromyalgia. In her counterclaim, Laframboise collectively claimed $1,851.71 for veterinary care costs, missed work, and exacerbation of mental illness and emotional distress.

The situation began when the women were at an off-leash dog park with their respective unleashed dogs.

“There was an incident between the dogs,” Volkers said.

Woo said when the dogs approached each other, Maple started growling, showed her canine teeth at Latte and tried to jump on top of Latte.

Woo said Laframboise then put Maple back on the leash and went to the other side of the dog park.

Woo said Laframboise approached them and asked if she could take Maple off-leash again. Woo said they hesitantly agreed as long as Laframboise could control Maple.

“Ms. Woo says that almost immediately after Ms. Laframboise removed Maple’s leash, Maple attacked Latte,” Volkers said. “Ms. Woo says the attack lasted a few seconds.”

Laframboise, however, said when she entered the park with Maple, Latte ran up to Maple growling. Laframboise did not dispute she put Maple back on her leash, but said Woo advised her that Latte would be fine and that Maple could be taken off the leash.

When Maple ran back to “say hi,”  Laframboise said Latte snarled, showed her teeth, and instigated the fight.

Laframboise said Maple used her chest to push Latte to the ground in self-defence. She said Latte put seven puncture wounds onto Maple’s face and Maple bit Latte’s leg to try to get Latte to let go of her face.

A witness, AS, said they were with their dog when the incident occurred. AS said Maple appeared to be in a “state of heightened alertness, bordering on aggression,” which appeared to make Latte appear nervous and uncomfortable as well.

AS said Maple’s owner had to drag the terrier back by the collar and struggled for control.

“AS said although Latte’s behaviour was ‘not submissive,’ it was ‘that of a friendly normal dog,’” Volkers said.

AS said once they dogs were together again, Maple “attacked almost immediately.”

“AS said they left the park after the attack because they were upset by the situation and worried for their own dog’s safety,” Volkers said.

Volkers said AS’s version of the incident is consistent with Woo’s.

“I find that Maple was the aggressor and attacked Latte,” Volkers said. “I find that in doing so, Ms. Laframboise breached her duty to reasonably maintain control of Maple and prevent attacks on other animals.”

Volkers dismissed Laframboise’s claims.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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