Thursday, August 31, 2006

Big bucks to spring puppy

Owner says bite call was a spite call

North End woman is livid after seeing her dog seized and quarantined -- saddling her with a nearly $200 pound bill -- only because someone cried wolf.

At least that's what Shannon Ogal insists happened when a teen girl complained to animal services officials last week that she had been bitten by the eight-month-old Labrador-cross on Manitoba Avenue.

Ogal lost her male pup, Ruffus -- at least temporarily -- last Wednesday when pound employees nabbed it as a result of a confrontation between her and a couple of teens in front of her house the previous evening.

The girls were "drunk or on something," Ogal said, when one of them taunted the animal.

"The next thing you know she screams, 'Your dog bit me!' " Ogal, a 27-year-old hotel desk clerk, told the Sun.

"She made it up. Then she just said she's calling the cops. She didn't show me the bite at all."

Dogcatchers showed up the next day to apprehend Ruffus, despite the owner's insistence there was no such attack or visible injury.

"There was nothing at all," Ogal said. "The worst he would do is maybe lick someone to death."


Animal services chief operator Tim Dack said the Labrador was seized for a 10-day quarantine -- a precautionary measure following any such apparent attack -- after his employees found that "a bite has occurred."

The pound's action, however, is not an indication that the girl was left with a clear wound.

"There doesn't have to be a mark. There doesn't have to be a scratch," Dack explained.

"The biting doesn't have to break the skin or leave a mark. It's the action of biting. People could be just lucky to not get bitten -- they could move their arm just in time, or it could just get their coat instead of them."

The 10-day confiscation, Dack said, protects the public in case the quarantined animal is rabid and costs the pet's owner $18 per day.

Even if Ogal retrieves Ruffus this weekend as she hopes, it will come with a bill of about $180 plus tax.

She wants the pound and police to listen to her argument that the teen complainant is a troublemaker allegedly responsible for a spray-painted slur, "Dead dog & dead bitch," scrawled on her rear shed since the incident.

"She's been harassing me. She drives by, swearing," said Ogal, who also owns Ruffus' mother Attila. "She said, 'It would be sad if your other dog is taken away, too.'"

Coun. Gord Steeves, head of city hall's protection committee, said he has confidence in the pound's ability to do the right thing.

"But hopefully they'll look at the injury. You don't want a dog picked up unless the dog has actually bitten someone," Steeves (St. Vital) said.

"It's just like a human. They are still dogs, but they are also innocent, I think, until proven guilty."

The pound requires bite victims to sign sworn statements in case judicial action follows.

"If we don't, anybody could just phone us and say, 'Joe Blow's dog down the street bit me,' because they don't like Joe Blow. That's not right," he said.

"I'm not saying people don't lie on statements, but we've never, to my knowledge or my memory, had a case when somebody has lied on a statement for a quarantine of an animal."


Blogger Conners said...

This is BULL!!! Two bullies were put to death in the USA just because the owner didn't want to live next door to two pit bulls. He said the dogs looked at him menacing.
One dog was in the house the whole time as she was birthing pups. (It was an accident) The male was locked up inside too, so how do two dogs that weren't outside menace a neighbour.
The outcome...the dogs were put down due to the neighbours say so. Guilty without trying to find proof of innocence.

10:29 AM  

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