Comox Valley Record

Death row dog's fate postponed yet again in Comox Valley courtroom

A Courtenay judge granted another 30-day stay Tuesday for the fate of a Newfoundland dog that he deemed dangerous in January.

Sutton also proposed the female Chum — that he ruled last month to be dangerous — be sent back to her breeder in Saskatchewan.

During the hearing, lawyers for both the Comox Valley Regional District and Jacques Manseau explained the breeder option no longer exists (only if Chum and her fellow Newfoundland dog Champ are transferred), and both sides presented new options to Sutton.

Troy De Souza, the CVRD's lawyer who appeared via teleconference, offered a new rehoming location for Chum on a five-acre rural property somewhere between the Comox Valley and Nanaimo.

"It balances public safety and allows Chum to live," he explained.

Replacing Manseau's former lawyer Eric Chesterley, Rebeka Breder, a Vancouver-based lawyer who specializes in animal law, argued the new option is not suitable.

"There is significant medical issues with Chum," she said. "(The proposed rehoming option) is a high traffic area with bears and cougars and active logging and gravel pits."

Breder presented another option to Sutton — an owner in Nanaimo who would be willing to take Chum.

"We found what we think is the perfect solution to everything," she noted, and added the owner, an RCMP officer, has a large property and has experience with large-breed dogs and has a letter of consent from the City of Nanaimo.

DeSouza argued the late option presented by Breder is unacceptable because the CVRD had already offered various other adoption options, which were previously rejected, and Breder was making incorrect assumptions without viewing the property.

"We tried the option on adoption — both parties had time — now we're not even at the 11th hour, we're now beyond the midnight hour in making a decision," he said.

Sutton said there are a number of factors that concerned him about the proposals, and reminded both lawyers that he does have a third option — for him to issue a conditional destruction order.

"It seems to me the best interest is not being served," he noted.

He dismissed an interim order, and said although he does not have jurisdiction over the male dog Champ, he does not want to the dogs in the same home together.

He explained he is prepared to allow Mr. Manseau to look at further options because the Saskatchewan breeder option is no longer available, but added "quite frankly, we should have a consent order if Chum's health is in dire need."

The two sides will schedule another court date for two hours to present evidence to Sutton for an appropriate rehoming option.

The CVRD brought forth an application to destroy the dogs in January 2012 following a complaint of a vicious dog attack. The dogs were taken by the CVRD on Jan. 26, 2012, and were being held at the Comox Valley SPCA following their seizure.

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