Friday, January 2, 2009

Pit bull died in vain

pit bull that attacked and bit a five-year-old pit bull mix named Rukus, that later succumbed to his injuries Sept. 12, has been deemed not dangerous.

Abbotsford's animal control services reached the conclusion that the case did not meet the definition of a dangerous dog under the city's bylaw, said Gordon Ferguson, the city's manager of bylaws and animal control.

"A full review was done on all the circumstances; there was quite a few things and it wasn't a clear-cut case," he said. "They [animal control officers] looked into many different issues and after a lot of consideration it was decided that they couldn't uphold the case if it was to go to court."

Rukus' owner Sarah Lassesen said she is "frustrated beyond belief" with the city's decision.

"Bylaws are in place to protect the public and with all this dog's history of attacking people, I can't believe he's not seen as being dangerous," she said. "If the dog does anything else they said they would do something, but I don't want another dog or person to have to get hurt."

Rukus was rushed into emergency surgery after he was attacked while he was taking his daily stroll on a large grassy area overlooking Sumas Way on Sept. 7.

Lassesen said all she wanted was for the dog to be required by law to wear a muzzle while in public.

"I know of less dangerous dogs that have nipped someone and not even broken the skin be required to wear a muzzle - this dog has tried to bite, not nip, many people and he even bit my dog bad enough that it killed him, it just doesn't make any sense," she said.

Because both dogs were off their leashes in a non off-leash area at the time of the attack, animal control officials told Lassesen that both parties were techincally breaking the law, and that it's difficult to be sure the incident wasn't just a dogfight.

Lassesen lives in the same building complex as the owner of the dog that attacked Rukus. She said the owner, admitted he had, once, been attacked by his dog and that he sustained serious injuries, which landed him in the hospital. But because he was attacked in his own house animal control could not do anything about it.

According to the city's Pound Bylaw, a dog is deemed dangerous if while in a public place or while on private property, other than property owned or occupied by the person responsible for the dog, has killed or seriously injured a companion animal or domestic animal, it has killed or seriously injured a person or the pound keeper or an animal control officer has reasonable grounds to believe it is likely to kill or seriously injure a person.

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