The dog at the centre of a fatal incident at a city park did not cause the death of another dog nor is he a vicious pitbull, says the lawyer representing the owners.
Defence counsel met briefly in an Ontario Provincial Offences courtroom on Wednesday and set the matter involving a dog that died at one of the city’s off leash dog parks for pre-trial. The owners face provincial offences act charges as a result of that incident.
Ravin Perrier, 18, brought her chihuahua-mix dog, named Gus, to the Winnipeg Avenue park on Nov. 9. During that visit at the park it is alleged that her dog was attacked and killed by another dog that many have described as being part pitbull.
The family that owned Gus has since made a statement of claim against the owner of the dog accused in the attack. The $50,000 statement of claim is also against the City of Thunder Bay.
Francis Thatcher, who represents Erin Unick and Scott Zimmer, spoke about the civil suit against his clients after appearing in court to set the pre-trial date for the provincial offences act charges they now face. He said his clients are dealing with going through the legal system and believe their dog, Jimi, played no part in the death of Gus.
"Neither of them have been involved in this sort of situation before," Thatcher said. "It’s all new to them. We’re guiding them through it but the position is simple that Jimi is not a pitbull and did not cause the death of the other dog at the dog park."
After receiving disclosures from the city, Thatcher said he and the other lawyers wanted to move ahead with the pre-trial and expected the court procedure to last between six to eight weeks.
The damages listed on the statement of claim include general damages in the amount of $1,500, tort of assault in the amount of $5,000 and nervous shock and loss of companion care and guidance tort of neglect in the amount of $42,500.
The claim states the city was negligent because they were not properly supervising or enforcing the dog park rules and that the owner of Jimi failed to properly supervise their dog, provide proper training and keep it in the proper area of the park.
Chris Watkins, representing the family that filed the statement of claim, said last week that they’re not seeking the destruction of Jimi; they don’t blame the dog.
"It is the Perrier family’s position that (Jimi’s owners and the city) were negligent and their negligence led to poor helpless little Gus’ loss," Watkins said on Jan. 21.
The pre-trial will begin on Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. at the Ontario Provincial Offences court.
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