A Burnaby man is calling for more restrictions on pitbulls and dangerous dogs and is launching a lawsuit after he says his puppy was “mauled and mutilated” in a fatal attack this summer.
John Devita is suing the City of Vancouver, the pitbull’s owners, their landlord and strata corporation, after his five month old Cocker Spaniel named Mila was attacked near Homer and Smithe in June.
Devita says his wife, sister-in-law and friend also suffered bites, bruising and other serious defensive wounds as they attempted to fend off the pitbull Mastiff.
“The owners were across the street and they finally came and got the dog off but it was too late, our puppy died.”
Devita says Mila was rushed to two veterinary clinics, at a cost of $6505.28, but after emergency assistance and surgery, neither of the clinics could save her.
He alleges the owners sought to escape rather than render aid to the victims or provide identification.
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Devita says the City of Vancouver is negligent because the Animal Control department returned the pitbull to its owners after a similar attack six weeks prior, under the conditions it was leashed and muzzled in public.
“So we are holding the city responsible for the attack” says Devita.
The suit alleges “the pitbull by its specific behavior and by the universally held reputation and vicious propensities of its breed, was clearly known to the Defendant City to be an aggressive, vicious and very dangerous animal and thus was a dangerous dog defined by s. 324.1 of the Vancouver Charter and presented an imminent danger to the public.”
Devita says there should be further restrictions on pitbulls.
“I think they should be muzzled. Burnaby bylaws say they have to be muzzled. Vancouver doesn’t have any laws against pitbulls but I think in public they should be muzzled or leashed, you just can’t have a dog like that walking around.”
Devita says it’s been a tough year. Their other 14 year old dog died of Melanoma in February.
A hearing before the The Bylaw Prosecutor’s Office in March will determine if the pitbull should be put down.
If the owner is found guilty of committing an offence against the Animal Control Bylaw, he could be fined up to $10,000 for each offence.
The pitbull’s owner could not be reached for comment.
None of the civil suit allegations have been proven in court.