THE KITIMAT-Stikine Regional District spent close to $20,000 in its unsuccessful bid to have a German shepherd declared a dangerous animal and then destroyed.
The largest portion of that amount went to the regional district’s lawyer it hired to present its case in court.
Legal fees to pay for the regional district’s lawyer Troy De Souza plus his flights, accommodation, meals and any other expenses totalled about $16,000, said regional district treasurer Verna Wickie.
De Souza is from Victoria and had to be flown in for the trial.
Cain spent nearly a year in jail after being seized and until the court case was heard. In all, he was at the regional district’s Thornhill animal shelter for 329 days – April 5, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013 – and, at $8 per day, that cost the regional district $2,632.
On April 5 2012, Cain allegedly attacked three boys, tearing the pants of one, biting the arm of a second boy and knocking down and standing on the back of a third boy in lower Thornhill, reported police at that time.
The dog was seized and taken to the Terrace animal shelter as it was a weekend and the Thornhill animal shelter wasn’t open, said police. He was taken to the Thornhill Shelter the following week. The case sparked widespread social media comment with supporters of Cain in particular advocating that he be moved to the Kitimat shelter where they said living conditions were better pending a conclusion of the hearing.
Provincial court judge Brian Neal turned down the application to destroy the dog Feb. 28, saying the lawyer for the regional district had failed to prove its case, which took up four days of court time.
But that’s not the end of Cain’s story. After court finished Feb. 28, owner Paul MacNeil said his understanding was that even though the bylaw says Thornhill residents may only have two dogs, that a third dog is acceptable if the owner gets a kennel licence instead of individual dog licences.
However, according to Murray Daly, regional district bylaw enforcement officer, MacNeil lives in the single family residential zone (R1), which doesn’t allow kennels.
Regional district animal control bylaw #13.1 says “no person shall keep three or more dogs apparently over the age of four (4) months on any parcel unless kennel use is a permitted use of the parcel in accordance with the Regional District’s Zoning Bylaw.”