Trevor the dog will live a little longer.
At a court hearing Thursday, the German shepherd/Rottweiler was spared from euthanasia until a licensed dog trainer can determine just how dangerous he is.
Trevor’s fate will be decided at a court case on September 22, after it has been evaluated whether or not the dog can be rehabilitated.
Whitehorse resident Kevin Sinclair brought the case to the Supreme Court when he learned the city’s animal shelter was going to kill the dog.
Matthew Allaby handed Trevor over to the pound on July 15 for him to be euthanized after he attacked his landlord, Paul Sheridan and three of his friends, he claimed.
But the humane society, which joined Sinclair in his case against the Whitehorse bylaw services branch, said Allaby didn’t have the right to have the dog euthanized because he was not the owner.
The humane society used the issue of ownership to leverage a case against sentencing the dog to death.
In the application to adopt the dog from the humane society, Tamara Allaby, Matthew’s sister, was listed as the primary caretaker, not Matthew.
“There was no secondary household address given and the brother was mentioned (on the application), but not that he would be a caretaker,” said Rachel Westfall, the humane society board member who represented the case in court.
Tamara broke the rules of the adoption contract when she handed the dog over to her brother, said Westfall.
“Our position is that the humane society became the default owner when Tamara Allaby broke the contractual agreement.”
Citing the animal control bylaw, Westfall argued that the city, before it took the dog from Matthew and decided it would euthanize the dog, should have first contacted the humane society.
‘The city of Whitehorse didn’t give notice to the owners that Trevor was a dangerous dog, as required under city bylaws,” said Westfall.
The contract shouldn’t be relevant, said lawyer Lori Lavoie, who represented the city in court.
“When looking at the definition of an ‘owner’ (in the animal control bylaws), it is ‘any person that owns or possesses or has controlled care or custody over the animal’, so anyone caring for it at that particular time” she said.
And if a dog is automatically considered dangerous by a bylaw officer, then a notice to the owner is not necessary, she added.
But the humane society should have been involved in the discussion, said Judge Randall Wong.
“By contract the humane society is at least a putative owner and therefore has an interest in Trevor and a role to play in what happens (to him),” said Wong
Due to the number of attacks traced back to Trevor, Wong ordered a licensed dog trainer mutually agreed upon by both the city and humane society to decide whether the dog could be rehabilitated.
“Having Trevor assessed will be helpful in regards to whether the stay should be lifted,” he said.
An order to stay the euthanasia was given to Welland and Sinclair on the condition that certain requirements be met, including the dog be kept in isolation at the humane society shelter, be taken out only if he is on a short leash and with a muzzle, and that the shelter have insurance up to $500,000 to cover any possible future injuries.
“If the assessment comes back favourably, then hopefully it can be resolved between the city and the humane society,” said Lavoie.
“If it comes back unfavourably then a decision will have to be made.”
During a court recess, Sinclair said he felt the judge’s decision was “fair.”
“Trevor will get assessed and if (the assessment) comes back negative then everybody has to take their medicine,” he said.
John Taylor, manager of bylaw services also saw the outcome as “a win for everybody,” but maintains the safety of citizens is still his primary concern.
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