|The Ottawa Citizen|
Three pit bull-type dogs that attacked five people and were subsequently ordered destroyed by a justice of the peace have been granted a stay of execution pending appeal.
The dogs were scheduled to be killed today at the Humane Society, but their owner's lawyer, Jason Gilbert, was able to get a judge's order delaying the deaths until a full appeal of the execution ruling can be heard.
No date has been scheduled for the appeal, and the dogs will continue to live at the Humane Society until their fate is determined.
Mr. Gilbert said since the dogs were ordered down, a person has come forward to take in one of them. Mr. Gilbert is looking for other people to adopt the remaining two and hopes finding the dogs new homes will be enough to get an appeal judge to set aside the executions permanently.
Mr. Gilbert said experts testified at the original hearing that the dogs wouldn't be dangerous if looked after by responsible owners who follow safety measures, such as muzzling the dogs in public.
In light of this evidence, he argues that justice of the peace Darrell Bartraw's decision to order them destroyed was too drastic a move.
He said when Mr. Bartraw made the order two weeks ago, nobody had come forward to adopt the dogs, so ordering them killed was almost understandable. But Mr. Gilbert said more time should have been given to find new owners before killing them.
"Ordering them destroyed is overkill," Mr. Gilbert said.
City of Ottawa lawyer Stuart Huxley called the appeal groundless and unfortunate and said the municipality will fight to maintain the order to kill the dogs.
He said Mr. Bartraw's decision came after a multi-day hearing, was made to protect the public and should stand.
"There appears to be no merit for the appeal based in law," Mr. Huxley said. "It's unfortunate ... such an appeal has been initiated. It will prolong the matter."
The dogs have been at the society since February when they attacked people for the second time in a month.
Robert Adams, 16, and his brother, Justin Echlin, 4, were attacked Jan. 21, by the three dogs near their Woodridge Crescent home while they were skating on an outdoor rink. Both suffered scratches.
After this, city officials ordered the dogs' owner, Schridev Cafe, 22, to keep them on a leash and muzzled when he took them out in public.
On Feb. 25, Guy Clairoux, his son, Jayden, 21/2, and a neighbour who came to their aid were attacked by the dogs in a playground outside their Dumaurier Avenue home. The boy suffered cuts and scratches and the neighbour needed stitches to close a bite wound.
Following this attack, Mr. Cafe was charged with three counts criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Mr. Cafe was fined $2,100 on nine bylaw charges for the January attack. Under the Dog Owners Liability Act, Mr. Cafe is not to own any dog for 15 years. He is to appear in court in September.