The owner of a dog that bit and killed a neighbour’s animal has won her fight against a euthanasia order issued by the city of Montreal.
In his ruling Nov. 1, Quebec Superior Court Justice Frédéric Bachand wrote that procedural fairness was breached when a city agent issued the order to put down Marylou Trahan’s husky-German shepherd mix, Zuri.
“The City had to — at first — inform Mrs. Trahan of the risks that the process entailed leading to an order for euthanasia and then — as a second step — to take into account her point of view both on the level of dangerousness of Zuri and on the desirability of an order of euthanasia,” Bachand wrote.
In August 2018, Zuri mauled a neighbour’s smaller dog, killing it. The incident happened in the Lachine borough.
According to Trahan, she was supposed to go meet a neighbour in the alley between their two properties. She said that while she was getting her dog’s leash and muzzle, the neighbour opened a gate to her property and the smaller dog entered Trahan’s backyard.
“I can’t say exactly why Zuri bit the other one,” she told Global News. “What is known is that my dog is anxious and was even more anxious then.”
Trahan said she thought the neighbour would’ve waited for her to bring her dog to the alley.
“I told him it wasn’t a good idea to come into my backyard,” she claimed.
After the incident, Montreal issued a euthanasia order under its animal control bylaw, which states that any dog that fatally bites a person or pet is deemed dangerous and must be put down within 48 hours of the incident.
According to the ruling, the city had argued that given the wording of the bylaw, it had no choice but to order the dog to be put down.
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Bachand disagreed, saying the wording is unclear.
“The analysis of the wording of the provisions of the Regulations clearly does not support either Ms. Trahan’s or the City’s argument,” he wrote. “The conclusion to which this analysis leads is therefore one of ambiguity.”
Trahan said she’s happy about the judgement. She maintains that her dog isn’t aggressive but that he is getting treatment for his anxiety issues.
Since the incident, she has moved out of the city.