Homeless woman's dog euthanized without her knowledge
Published Saturday, November 25, 2017 7:23PM PST Last Updated Monday, November 27, 2017 6:50PM PST
A woman who lives on the Surrey Strip is speaking out after she says bylaw officers unfairly apprehended her dog and later euthanized him without her knowledge or consent.
Bylaw officers took Candice Lander's dog Cesar from her over the summer, saying Cesar attacked another dog outside Lander's tent.
"They ripped [Cesar] out of my hands in the middle of the street," Lander told CTV News. "I was sitting on the ground screaming."
Video at the scene shows Lander being arrested, though she was never charged.
A bystander can be heard in video from the scene saying "did he bite anybody? No, he didn't bite anybody."
Lander had lived with Cesar since he was four weeks old.
"I fell in love with him, like, instantly," she told CTV News. "My whole life revolved around him."
Two weeks after being seized, Cesar was euthanized. Lander says she was only told that when she arrived at the animal shelter trying to pick him up.
She wants to know why Cesar wasn't rehomed and why she wasn't told before he was euthanized.
"I'd understand if it was in the best interest of the dog to give it a better life," she said. "But that was the farthest thing. My dog wasn't suffering. He was spoiled rotten and he was happy."
Homeless advocate Erin Schulte filed a freedom of information request which shows Cesar was listed as a vicious dog.
Schulte thinks Lander may have been treated unfairly because she is homeless.
"If it was me or you we would get a letter in the mail saying this is how much you're owing at this point, these are your options," she told CTV News.
In June, a Rottweiler in Surrey was put down after it attacked a little girl and a man who tried to help her. In that case, however, the owner agreed to the euthanization.
Over in Richmond, the city had to go to court to get approval to euthanize a dog that had mauled a young woman.
Lander says she never had any say.
"They say they treat everyone equally, but they don't at all," she said. "He wasn't a stray dog. He was loved and taken care of and cherished and adored by lots of people—especially me."
In a phone interview, Surrey's bylaw manager told CTV they tried finding Cesar a new home but that no shelters would take him. The manager also says Lander was given plenty of time to reclaim the dog—but that she would have had to pay $1,500 in fees and fines.
Those include the licensing fee, because the dog was not licensed, the cost of two weeks' boarding and other charges.
With reclaiming Cesar no longer an option, Lander says she wants an apology and an assurance that people like her will be treated fairly in the future.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith