The price of a dog’s day in court

Doug Fenwick’s wife Debra Ogilvie has been in counselling ever since a pit bull killed Joey, their Yorkie poo, last November.


Doug Fenwick’s wife Debra Ogilvie has been in counselling ever since a pit bull killed Joey, their Yorkie poo, last November. “It just grabbed our little dog and proceeded to shake. My wife was screaming and kicking it,” says Fenwick, of White Rock, B.C. A postman who saw the attack jumped on top of the pit bull, but it was too late. Joey was dead.

Making matters worse, the couple has now learned that it will take six months and cost the city several thousand dollars before a judge will decide whether to label the pit bull a dangerous dog and therefore order it euthanized. That’s because applications to have a dog destroyed go through the backlogged Provincial Courts system. Paul Stanton, the man in charge of bylaw enforcement in White Rock, says the process to have violent dogs put down needs to be vastly improved. Had it been quicker, he says, the pit bull may have been destroyed sooner—perhaps soon after the first time it attacked.

Following Joey’s death, Fenwick and Ogilvie learned from a woman living down the street that the same canine had “ripped off her dog’s leg” a year earlier. That attack was so violent that the bylaw officer (working for Stanton) banished the dog from town. Stanton says he considered getting a court order to have the dog killed then, but he was advised it would take several months.

Indeed it does. Now that the city has decided to advocate for the death sentence, it’s been told the earliest available trial date is July 25. Until then, the city must pay kennelling costs, estimated at $4,500, plus legal fees. That’s on top of the cost of Stanton’s time and the bylaw officer’s time. Stanton is frustrated that this issue can’t be settled sooner and that local taxpayers will get stuck with the bill. “It’s an eight-month process just to get to court,” he says. “So my sense is, we need a better process.”

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The price of a dog’s day in court

  1. If you see what has happened to Michael Vick's pitbulls and read the book by Jim Gorant The Lost Dogs we see that it is not the dogs but the human owners who have to be put down

  2. Problem with pit bulls is that once they set out to attack, they do not give up. A Shepherd's attack can be brought under control – reason why they're used as police dogs, and not pitbulls. So, once a pit bull decides you or your dog are toast – it's very difficult to get them to stop, and it's actually difficult to get them to give up attacking things, once they've acquired the taste for it.

    It is the fault of the owner – yes and no. They shouldn't be owned by abusive, or inexperienced owners, but they are bred for fighting, have very powerful jaws, and so they're just a cocktail full of problems. You do have to put the dog down – because he obviously has a penchant for attacking.

    • Pit bulls can be reasoned with the same as any other breed of dog. If any dog is raised to be vicious, it will be – Don't blame a breed simply based on what the media tells you to believe!

  3. taxpayer always get to pick up the dog doo.

    ever watched question period?

  4. And have resulted in thousands of inocent dogs being killed!!! Judge the deed (and a terrible one it is in this case), but don't judge an entire breed of dogs based on it! Vicious dogs almost always have vicious or idiotic owners!!!

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