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District bites back at Terrace area dog owner
THE REGIONAL District has filed a reply to a civil suit from a dog owner suing to recover some of his legal costs, saying its employees were acting according to policy and the performance of their duties.
The reply was filed Oct. 24 and says “there is no cause of action for legal fees and disbursements incurred in a separate action...the proper course for the claimant would have been to request costs in the legal proceeding regarding the application for the destruction of the claimant's dog...”
The defendants, the regional district and several of its employees including administrator Bob Marcellin, “deny that they breached any duty of care, statutory or otherwise...deny that the claimant (dog owner) has suffered any loss, damage or expense, as alleged or at all, and put the claimant to strict proof thereof,” said the reply.
In April 2012, police seized the German shepherd Cane from Paul MacNeil’s home after receiving a call that the dog had bit a child. Cane was first placed in the Terrace shelter as the Thornhill Animal Shelter wasn’t open and later moved to the Thornhill shelter.
It took nearly a year for the destruction order attempt to get to trial, culminating Feb. 28 of this year when, after two days of testimony, the judge determined that none of the conditions to declare the dog dangerous had been satisfied.
On Sept. 26, MacNeil filed a notice of claim to recover some of his legal costs, naming the regional district and several of its employees in seeking $25,000 spent in successfully preventing the regional district from obtaining the order to destroy Cane.
“The defendants … say that at all material times they were employees of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and were acting in the performance of their duties as employees.
“As such, they are immune from liability in this action...,” the reply continues.
The action against the regional district also alleges that Marcellin said MacNeil was entitled to compensation but there was no followup and a promised written report on the whole matter was never provided.
It alleges that when the dog was released from the shelter he was disoriented, having trouble standing and swallowing and that a shelter employee had injected him with a drug in anticipation of the court granting the destruction order the regional district was seeking.
In the reply, it says Marcellin “specifically denies that he made any offer or promise to the claimant that the regional district would financially compensate him for the handling of the claimant's dog on Feb. 28, 2013. However, he admits he asked the claimant how the regional district might made amends for the sedation of the dog on that day.”
It ends by saying the defendants were asking that the civil suit “be dismissed with costs.”