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Dog that attacked collies euthanized

Published on

Cathy Dobson

A German shepherd at the centre of a sidewalk dog attack recounted in The Journal recently has been euthanized.

The owner voluntarily had the shepherd put down last week one day prior to the case being heard in provincial court.

Charges related to the unnamed owner allowing the dog to be unleashed and unmuzzled on the sidewalk in front of its home have also been dropped.

Animal Control had previously deemed the dog dangerous.

On March 29, the German shepherd escaped out the front door of its home and attacked Georgette Parsons’ two collies on the sidewalk, throwing one collie on the ground and biting at it.

It was the fourth time in nine months the shepherd had been loose in its yard and acted aggressively toward her dogs, Parsons said. But it was the first time she made a formal complaint.

“I feel really, really bad for the (German shepherd),” she said.  “There’s no bylaw against irresponsible people or ignorance.  I am a dog advocate and it’s really sad that dog had to pay that price.”

Animal Control investigated the attack and concluded the dog should be seized and euthanized, said Adam MacDonald, supervisor of bylaw enforcement at City Hall.

Charges were laid at Provincial Court under the Dog Owners Liability Act, and while the city recommended euthanasia it was up to the courts to decide.

A decision against the owner could have resulted in anything from a court order to erect a higher fence to putting the dog down.

However the owner, after being served the papers, took matters into her own hands on April 26 and had the dog euthanized. A veterinarian provided proof the dog was dead.

“That was their call,” said MacDonald. “They obviously saw the severity of the issue and took steps to rectify it.

“It’s tough for anyone to have to put down their pet but, at the same time, you have to be responsible for your pet.

“They did the right thing.”

With the danger to the public gone the shepherd’s owner was still facing fines related to it being off-leash and unmuzzled.

However, Parsons decided not to pursue the charges and the case has been closed.

“I just want this to be over,” she said. “I don’t want to wave the red flag any further.”

As reported on April 13, Parsons is concerned about a perceived increase in aggressive dog attacks on pets and people in Sarnia.

Following the shepherd incident in her own neighbourhood, she changed her walking route only to encounter other dogs she needed to avoid.

“When I spoke out about the attack I was inundated with stories from other people who have experienced aggressive dogs,” she said.

“It’s not the dogs’ fault. I want to tell people, please don’t get a dog on a lark. Make sure you have the time and energy to put in for training.”

MacDonald confirmed the euthanized German shepherd was involved in “at least three” incidents of aggression, including the collie attack. None resulted in extensive injuries, he said.

The city has received complaints about four dog-on-dog biting incidents so far this year.

In the three years he’s been on the job, there’s been one reported dog attack on a person, MacDonald said.

Animal Control has the authority to seize a dangerous dog without a court order but only in the most severe cases, he said.

Otherwise, the case is handed to provincial court for a decision, as this case was.

“I think the system is working,” said MacDonald.


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