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

@germamechazu/Instagram

@germamechazu/Instagram

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

The Terrace municipal council in 1974. Front row, left to right, alderman E.F. Clift, Mayor Gordon Rowland, alderman H.M. Buncombe. Back row, left to right, alderman R.A. Green, alderman M.J.G. Duffus, alderman N. Jacques and alderman C.D. (Dave) Maroney. (City of Terrace photo)
Former Terrace mayor passes away

Gordon Rowland was mayor during the 1970s

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace resident Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive GGArts Award

Hundreds of Valentine’s Day cards were delivered to Terraceview Lodge residents. (Submitted Photo/Carolyn DeFreitas)
Terraceview Lodge residents receive hundreds of Valentines

The Terrace Public Library delivered 373 Valentines cards to residents

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace councillor McCallum-Miller resigns

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Average response times for critical “purple” and “red” calls were between nine and 10 minutes Feb. 19 in Metro Vancouver, with only less critical “yellow” calls receiving an average response time of 45 minutes. The longer than usual delay was due to a combination of factors, BC Emergency Health Services said. (APBC image)
After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

B.C. Ambulance Service says high-priority calls were still 10 minutes or less

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and former finance minister Carole James roll out “StrongerBC,” a $1.5 billion business support plan for COVID-19, eight months after the B.C. legislature approved the money and four days before a snap election call, Sept. 17, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 business grant fund still mostly unspent

$300 million pandemic assistance approved almost a year ago

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Most Read