The fate of a pit bull that attacked and killed a small dog in White Rock last November will not be decided for at least another five months.
A hearing to determine whether the City of White Rock can euthanize the dog, Pebbles, was to be held Monday in Surrey Provincial Court. However, just before the hearing was to get underway, an application to adjourn, filed last week by the dog’s owner, Lisa Shaw, was approved.
A new hearing date was set for Dec. 16.
Deb Ogilvie, owner of Joey – the 12-pound yorkie-poodle cross that was killed in the Nov. 22 attack – said she was “furious” over the decision. “It’s not justice,” she said outside the courtroom.
Ogilvie was returning home from a walk with Joey when an off-leash pit bull struck at Marine Drive and Stevens Street, outside the front window of her home.
Her husband, Doug Fenwick, still can’t open the window’s blinds all the way, and the couple has since put their condo up for sale, Ogilvie said.
Much of the devastation they’ve spent the last eight months dealing with has resurfaced with the court proceedings, she added.
“We were just starting to move ahead,” Ogilvie said. “We were just starting to feel comfortable about talking about getting another dog. We won’t be doing that anymore.”
The city’s lawyer, Don Howieson, told Judge Gary Cohen that he was prepared to call six witnesses, and would present evidence including that the dog was supposed to have been removed from White Rock at the time of the Nov. 22 incident.
The $600 per month cost of housing the dog – paid by the city since seizing the dog in November – is a “serious consideration to the city,” Howieson noted.
Asked by Cohen if she was willing to repay the city, Shaw said she’d “have to find a way to do it.”
Asked why she had waited so long to ask for an adjournment, Shaw said she didn’t have the money for a lawyer until last week.
Pointing to five alleged attacks, Cohen asked Shaw why she was defending the dog.
“I believe there are things that can be done to rehabilitate her,” Shaw said, noting she had built a pen to house Pebbles, and that the dog had escaped through her front door. “I’d like to give her the chance. She’s a good dog. She would never hurt a person.”
Cohen asked if Shaw would be able to live with herself if, after “heroic” efforts to rehabilitate the dog, she killed again.
“Every dog is entitled to its first fight,” he said. “This is its fifth fight.”
Shaw said it’s not the dog’s fault. “It’s my fault,” she said. “I’m taking responsibility.”
Outside the courtroom, Fenwick said he didn’t believe the dog could be rehabilitated.
“This dog’s a killer. It will kill again,” he said, noting he is disappointed with the adjournment. “You want some closure, now we have to wait another six months.”
“I don’t know. Maybe (Shaw’s) thinking we’re just going to forget about it. But we’re not. We’re absolutely not going to forget about it.”
Ogilvie said the city should have more authority to deal with violent animals, and said more needs to be done to ensure safe neighbourhoods.
“The bylaws have to be enforced; the legislation has to be changed,” she said. “We have to get our community back to being a safe, secure community.”