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Woman loses appeal to save dangerous dog from city's death row
A dog deemed dangerous by the City of Vancouver will likely be put down soon after its owner lost an appeal launched in the hopes of saving the Australian cattle dog.
“I believe it’s ridiculous,” said Susan Santics outside the B.C. Court of Appeal on Friday. “He’s a very healthy cattle dog and they want to kill him.”
Santics and her dog Punky’s battle with the city began in September 2017 at the Spanish Banks off-leash dog area, where Punky attacked a woman.
Court documents say the then two-year-old dog caused serious injuries to the victim’s hand and legs.
“We’re not saying Punky didn’t bite and that he didn’t scratch. That’s not denied,” said Victoria Shroff, Santics’ lawyer. “But I think there needs to be a much higher threshold before you can take the life of a sentient being.”
Santics lost her initial court case against the city and now three justices have denied her appeal, in part because Punky is a repeat offender who bit at least two other people previously.
The decision points to the likelihood that "a similar attack will occur."
Santics has 60 days to decide if she wants to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, and if she doesn’t, this latest decision is Punky’s death warrant.
The victim of the attack is also suing Santics, accusing her of negligence causing personal injury and loss of earnings, in a case that goes to court next year.
In the meantime, Santics is allowed to visit Punky for thirty minutes each week, but only through a chain-link fence.
She says those visits are emotional and difficult for her after she raised Punky from the time he was just seven weeks old.
“He was a fearful dog and barking a lot,” she said. “I learned as I went. I learned to love him. He’s my family.”