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Xu v. Chen


The Claimant's six-month old sheltie puppy, "Diamond,” suffered a serious limb injury outside the front yard of the family home. Claimant seeks to recover the veterinarian costs she incurred to treat the dog's injury against Defendants, the owners of the other dog that allegedly attacked claimant’s dog. The court found that there was evidence that Defendant was previously contacted by Animal Control as well as a neighbor about an incident where Angus lunged at another dog. The Claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that Angus had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned that night. Claimant was 25% liable for the incident where she left Diamond in an unfenced yard that gave other dogs access. The court denied Xu’s claim of $5500 for future medical costs for the care of Diamond because there was no evidence what these would be and the dog was currently living with another family.

Whelen v. Barlow


Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.

Tulloch v. Melnychuk


In this case, the Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants for trespass to chattels. She alleged that the Defendants shot her valuable dog. The Defendants countered that they were justified in shooting the dog since it was on their land chasing and worrying their cattle contrary to the Stray Animals Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. S-23, Part 3. Here, the court found credible the testimony from the defendant cow-operator that the dog was chasing a lame cow to the point where the cow was exhausted. The action by plaintiff was dismissed.

THE ANIMAL RIGHTS DEBATE AND THE EXPANSION OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE: IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE LAW PROTECTING ANIMALS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY FAIL AND SUCCEED?
Shelvey v. Bicknell


Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

Richard v. Hoban


The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.

Reece v. Edmonton (City) This case dealt with the procedure the applicants used to get their claim heard by the court. The respondent City holds a licence under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. W‑10 to operate a zoo, which houses a lone Asian elephant named Lucy. The appellants commenced this action by originating notice for an order. The chambers judge concluded that the proceedings were an abuse of process because a private litigant cannot seek a declaration that the respondent is in breach of a penal provision in a statute, namely that the elephant was kept in distress because of health concerns. Alternatively, he concluded that the application should have been brought by way of statement of claim, not originating notice. Further, the chambers judge concluded that the appellants had no private interest standing, and that there were barriers to them being awarded public interest standing. On appeal, the parties raised two issues: (1) whether the chambers judge erred in denying the appellants standing to seek a declaration; and (2) whether the chambers judge erred in concluding that the proceedings were an abuse of process. This court held that the chambers judge came to the correct conclusion that these proceedings are an abuse of process. APPEAL DISMISSED.
R. v. McConkey


In this case, the defendants pleaded guilty to violations of the Animal Protection Act after a peace officer for the humane society found four dogs in distress due mainly to a lack of grooming. On appeal, the defendants did not contest the amount of the fines, but suggested that the court should consider the economic status of the defendants (both were on government assistance). The court found that the conduct of the defendant and the level of the distress experienced by the dogs over a long period of time was an aggravating factor in determining the fine. With regard to a Section 12(2) prohibition to restrain future animal ownership, the court was reluctant to inflict stress on the animals still residing at the home by removing them from their long-time home.

R. v. Baird


The defendant, George Baird, was charged on indictment that he caused bodily harm to Amelia Debogorski by criminal negligence stemming from his keeping of dangerous dogs. While the dogs self-evidently proved to be highly dangerous to the victim, there was little evidence of their prior dangerous intent simply because they ran at large. As a result, the court then found that there was reasonable doubt whether the danger was known and recognized by Mr. Baird prior to the attack. The court found that there insufficient proof to find that Baird acted with "wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.” The court also observed that while there may or may not have been civil negligence, this was not enough to sustain a conviction for criminal negligence.

R v. Shand In R v Shand 2007 ONCJ 317 (CanLII), the court examined the necessary elements required to established the “willful” mens rea component present in Canadian Federal Criminal Statute s. 429. The accused was charged with three counts of animal cruelty contrary to s.446 of the Criminal Code in relation to a dog in her care. The court found that on two of the counts that the accused was had acted "wilfully" because she was either "reckless or indifferent as to her dog's condition."

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