Quebec woman refusing to surrender emotional support dog after attack on child

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Verdun woman refusing to surrender emotional support dog after attack
WATCH: A Verdun woman says she will not obey the borough's orders to surrender her dog after it bit someone. The owner insists that she has complied with all the conditions imposed since the incident and that authorities are being unfair, especially since the animal serves a special purpose in her life. Global's Phil Carpenter reports – Aug 22, 2023

Courtney Mattix’s name for her 6 year-old mini Australian mix probably gives you a hint of what she has been going through over the last few years and the relationship she has with him.

“I named him Keemo because he’s the one that’s been there for me through everything,” she told Global News outside her home.

She’s been battling cancer since 2014 and has other health problems, so that’s why the news delivered  by a bailiff last weekend was such a blow, according to her. The dog owner has until Wednesday to surrender the animal to a shelter or a vet, for failing to abide by conditions imposed since May this year.

“They asked me to get him sterilized, chipped, the muzzle and get a behaviour analysis,” she recalled, insisting that she met all the conditions.

This all follows an incident in May when she says the dog bit a child in the face. But Mattix vows the attack was not the dog’s fault.  After the incident, when the dog was deemed not dangerous by her vet, she was instructed by the city to muzzle the dog when outside.

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But according to Mattix, last week while she was on the sidewalk about to enter her house, someone took a photo.

“The minute I took his muzzle off she snapped a picture and then she brought it to the city,” Mattix explained.

According to her, that’s the image that convinced borough officials to get rid of the dog.  The Verdun resident says she can’t bear to lose Keemo since he’s her emotional support animal.  She provided documents to prove that the animal has been registered as such.

Neighbours who take Mattix’s side believe the city is being unfair.

“They can’t do that,” insisted Marinna Mendola, who pointed out that children in her family play with the animal frequently.

“It’s not only her dog, it’s also everybody else around here in the neighbourhood. We all fell in love with him.”

Mendola believes authorities should make more allowances and give more support for people who need their animals  — especially lower-income residents like Mattix.

“(The city is) fast to give out fines but they’re not fast to help people,” she said.

Verdun borough officials referred Global News to the City of Montreal for comment but city officials did not respond by deadline.

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