One of the more challenging roles Ontario municipalities have is to deal with fights between neighbours, whether it be property disputes, building code issues or problems with pets.
On Wednesday, Greater Sudbury's hearing committee will deal with an appeal from an owner of a German Shepherd who was deemed vicious after an attack last October on a neighbour and their dog.
According to a report headed to the committee, the complainant and their dog were outside washing the car when the German Shepherd ran toward them “with 'teeth and gums showing' without leash, and without care and control of an owner.”
They tried to run inside, but the dog pinned the neighbour against the front door, scratched the neighbour's back and bit into the buttocks, causing puncture wounds.
“The complainant opened the door to their home to escape, where the dog ... at this time entered the home, as well, and proceeded to attack and bite the complainant's dog ... resulting in puncture wounds.”
It took three people to restrain the German Shepherd, and the dog that was attacked needed treatment from a veterinarian. Bylaw officers investigated and concluded there were grounds to declare the German Shepherd vicious.
The report includes pictures of the dogs involved, the wounds the dog and neighbour suffered during the attack, and the $227 veterinarian bill.
Under city rules, a dog can be declared vicious: if it attacks a person or another animal without provocation; if they receive a formal complaint from the victim; and, the subsequent investigation confirms the attack was unprovoked.
“The effect of the notice is to ensure the owner of a dog deemed vicious by receipt of the notice, erect vicious dog signs on the owner’s property, muzzle and leash the dog when not inside the owner's dwelling at all times, provide that the dog is microchipped and requires the owner to obtain additional liability insurance,” the report said.
Owners are allowed to appeal the notice, and the city received notice in January of the appeal. In the notice, the owner of the German Shepherd didn't dispute that the attack happened, but denied there were no mitigating factors.
“The notice said that my dog attacked without provocation,” the appeal said. “We feel this is profoundly incorrect based on witness accounts of the situation and we would like to discuss it with the committee.”
The hearing committee has three options: uphold the vicious dog notice (which staff recommends), uphold the notice but remove some of the restrictions imposed on the German Shepherd, or reverse the decision by bylaw officers and remove the notice entirely.
The hearing committee meets April 17 at 6 p.m. at Tom Davies Square. Read the full report here..