Supporters say complaints that animal bit people are u
The Canadian Press Last updated on Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009 07:43PM EDT
If they win next week's case, the German-shepherd-Rottweiler cross named Trevor will probably go to a new home in the bush outside Whitehorse.
If they lose, he will be destroyed.
“He's on death row,” said Kevin Sinclair, the Whitehorse man who's already won one injunction to save the two-year old male with big brown eyes from that most dreaded of all vet visits.
“Trevor just got a raw deal,” said Gerry Steers, president of the Yukon Humane Society. “That's why we're fighting to save his life.”
Trevor entered the canine legal system last January when bylaw officers found him chained up outside a home. He had been abused and neglected to the point where his flesh was growing around his collar.
He was taken to the humane society's animal shelter, where he was nursed back to health and resocialized.
In May, he was adopted out to a woman who gave Trevor to her brother. On July 14, the dog was accused of biting three people and turned over to the city pound.
“[One victim] got out of his vehicle and the dog ran up and bit him on the arm — no provocation,” said John Taylor, Whitehorse's head of bylaw enforcement. “He broke the skin and bruised him quite badly.”
Taylor declared Trevor a dangerous dog, and Whitehorse bylaws stipulate that he should therefore be destroyed.
Trevor hadn't had a rabies shot, so the city had to hold him for 10 days to make sure he hadn't infected anyone.
That gave Sinclair time to act. He filed for a temporary injunction to save Trevor. The order was granted on Tuesday.
On Aug. 6, Sinclair is to argue before a judge that Trevor's adoptive owner breached the contract she signed when she gave the dog to her brother. The contract says that when adoptions fail, the animal must be returned to the humane society.
Trevor belongs to the society, not the city, said Steers. And the society isn't prepared to give up on him without a fight.
Whitehorse allows owners to keep dogs designated as dangerous if they are properly contained and muzzled. The status may be removed if the dog's behaviour remains good.
Sinclair and Steers say experienced dog owners with proper facilities are lined up to take Trevor home.
They question the conditions in his adopted home, and point out that, until he bit someone, Trevor seems to have been a good dog.
Even when he was chained, hungry and hurt, he presented no problem to the officer who rescued him from his original owner, they said. Shelter staff report he was friendly and calm during his time there.
At the pound, he's a favourite.
“We had a barbecue last week and we fed him hamburgers,” said Taylor, who's got two adopted dogs himself. “He's a good skookum [courageous] dog.”
Aug. 6 is probably Trevor's last chance. Steers said the humane society doesn't have the money for a protracted court battle.
Taylor said public safety has to come first.
“Because of the number of bites, we have concerns about that.”
So if every dog has his day, Trevor's will have to be in court.
“If we don't win this,” says Steers, “it's too bad, because (then) Trevor's gone.”