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Old 11-21-2012, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Interesting article

read this in the toronto star. What are your thoughts on this??

Rachel Mendleson
Staff Reporter


On a sunny afternoon in late August, Audrey Mountfort, 7, was playing with her sister in the backyard of a friend’s Roncesvalles home where the family was dog-sitting a German shepherd-collie mix called Panny. While the children made “perfume” from flower petals and herbs, their moms popped inside to check on dinner.
Suddenly, the girls began to shriek. Panny, a rescued street dog from Panama who belonged to a pair of veterinarians in the neighbourhood, had grabbed hold of Audrey’s face with his teeth, slicing through both her cheeks.
“It’s the worst thing I ever saw in my life,” said Anna-Maria Mountfort, who emerged from the house to find her daughter screaming, her purple halter dress soaked with blood. “Her face was gaping.”
But while the attack, which left Audrey with 40 stitches, took just seconds, the ensuing battle over the dog’s fate rages on.
In an emotional case set to begin working its way through the Ontario Court of Justice on Thursday, Mountfort and her lawyer will attempt to convince a justice of the peace that Panny should be put down.
“Animal Services has failed to adequately respond to our concerns and, accordingly, we were left with no choice but to commence this proceeding ourselves,” Mountfort maintains in an affidavit she plans to present in court.
If her efforts succeed, the outcome will be rare: in 2011, there was just one destruction order issued in Toronto, according to Toronto Animal Services.
“This is not a dog person versus a not-dog-person conversation,” said Mountfort, who owns an Australian shepherd-poodle cross. “An animal that has mauled a child is a danger to society, and that danger needs to be neutralized. The agencies responsible for managing that have failed the public good in this case.”
John Booth, who met Panny while he and his wife were volunteering in animal shelters in Central America six years ago, declined to speak to the Star while the legal process is ongoing. But in an email, he said the dog was supposed to stay in their home while his family was away.
“(The) neighbour took Panny to her own backyard, where he was left off-leash and unsupervised with a group of unfamiliar children,” he said.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Hanna Booth said they knew their neighbour, Vanessa Vandenberghe, would take Panny on supervised walks with a leash, and into her home during the day when her husband was at work and her 7-year-old daughter, Yasmine, was at school.
She said Panny was familiar with Yasmine and has always been “wonderful with children,” so she had no reason to warn Vandenberghe about his behaviour around kids.
“When a dog hasn’t shown aggression before, how do you know to say that?” Hanna Booth said.
Still, as a parent of a 2-year-old boy, she said, “I just wouldn’t leave my kid unsupervised with a dog I didn’t know, and I think most parents would take the same precautions.”
Vandenberghe, however, said the Booths “never told (her) to keep Panny at their house at all times.”
While the Booths had warned her to watch Panny near other dogs, she said they “absolutely did not tell me to be careful with Panny and unfamiliar children,” or of the need to supervise him around kids.
“I would never have taken Panny if (they) had told me he was aggressive with other children,” said Vandenberghe, who said her daughter helped her dog-sit.
John Booth described the incident as “regrettable,” but said “killing Panny is an overreaction.”
In September, his co-worker, a veterinary technician with a child-free home, adopted Panny, “just to be on the safe side,” he said.
Hanna Booth works as a veterinarian for Toronto Animal Services.
The couple moved to appeal the muzzle order issued by the agency shortly after the attack, but Hanna said that decision is now in the hands of April Douglas, Panny’s new owner.
Douglas told the Star in an email: “We have retained a lawyer and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure our wonderful dog does not get euthanized.”
Douglas has been served with a summons to appear in court on Thursday. She faces allegations that sections of the Dog Owner’s Liability Act have been violated.
Under the act, if a court finds “the dog has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal or that . . . the dog is a menace,” the animal could be destroyed. The court can also order other measures for “more effective control,” including restraining the dog with a leash or confining it to its owner’s property.
Mountfort’s disquiet extends beyond her case against Douglas, however.
As her frustration mounted with the perceived lack of action on the part of Toronto Animal Services, she said she became concerned the investigation was being clouded by the fact Panny belonged to an employee of the agency.
But Animal Services manager Elizabeth Glibbery said there is no conflict of interest in this case.
“I’m very aware of how the family feels, however, this investigation is proceeding and there is nothing abnormal about how it has proceeded and how it will proceed,” she said.
“There’s absolutely no conflict of interest with my working at Animal Services,” said Hanna Booth, noting she started working there in July and didn’t know the investigator assigned to the case involving Panny.
Glibbery would not comment on whether Animal Services is considering pursuing a destruction order. At the moment, however, she said the agency’s primary focus is to carry out a “muzzle tribunal,” a hearing conducted whenever a muzzle order, which remains in force for the life of the dog, is appealed.
Because Hanna Booth is a city employee, the agency will seek outside parties to sit on the tribunal, Glibbery said.
Mountfort’s allegations against Animal Services are not part of her current legal action.
According to Ottawa-area lawyer Kurtis Andrews, who specializes in part in animal-related cases, private prosecutions for a destruction order are “rare but not unheard of.”
After a few hard months, Audrey is back to her usual, outgoing self. But as the purple scars just above her jaw line heal, she still has trouble understanding why she was attacked, and worries about what will happen to Panny.
“It would be a very hard thing to explain to her what I think should be done, but she’s a 7-year-old, and I’m the grown up,” said Mountfort. “All this stuff I do with my little girl in mind.”
Hanna Booth, meanwhile, said she is “shocked that this bite even occurred.”
“He was a great dog. We don’t know what happened in that scenario. We entrusted him with our neighbour to walk him and care for him while we were away,” she said. “It’s a really sad situation for us.”
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh my goodness this is so so sad , I can understand both sides here in Scotland a dog would be destroyed immediately .. Sad sad sad ...
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What a tragic story In my personal opinion, and I say personal because I acknowledge and respect that everyone is entitled to their own, Panny deserves to live.

Here in Ontario we don't issue a death penalty for humans who assault other humans, why should it be any different for dogs? What do we do with people who step out of boundaries? We send them to prison and rehabilitate them... Why can this not be true for dogs as well? A muzzle in public, responsible owners and a dose of doggie rehabilitation could be a great antidote for this problem.
Teddy & Katya

Last edited by Katya; 11-21-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Its a sad post!!!
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My opinion is that this dog needs to be euthanized ASAP. The dog tore off the face of a little girl... wow is that terrifying.

The dog needs to be euthanized because this will just continue to happen... and I personally find it ridiculous for the owners to justify the dog's actions simply because the little girl was a stranger to the dog... um... how is it normal/acceptable for ANY dog to attack ANY child???!!! If a dog is THAT aggressive, how the heck is that safe for anyone??

IMO with all the adoptable dogs in shelters out there, the aggressive ones need to be put down. I used to be all about no-kill until I watched the documentary "Shelter Dogs" in which the shelter's owner believes no-kill shelters are just as cruel (although euthanasia methods were not discussed; this shelter used injection) because not only do the dogs live out their lives in a shelter which makes the dogs not only miserable but quite insane from the constant barking and monotony, but it simply continues the cycle of re-homing the aggressive/problematic dogs in and out of the shelter which is not only psychologically damaging to the dog but can be dangerous for the owner(s) and potential victims as well.

This story seems like an open and shut case to me. The dog must be put down, it is FAR too dangerous to be someone's pet. Once again, the owners place blame on the victim instead of their own aggressive, dangerous dog. If this happened to my child or my dogs, I would be infuriated and it woudl not be a pretty picture for the offending dog and its owners. Not at all...

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