KELOWNA – A dangerous dog that sent one of his owners to hospital for two days with severe bites late last year will be euthanized by court order.
“The wounds are deep, bloody and gruesome,” writes Judge Jane Cartwright in her decision today, April 8. “It is clear that Loki’s attack on his owner was savage and persistent.”
The Regional District of the Central Okanagan petitioned the court to destroy the 22-month-old pit bull cross, after an attack that left Jennifer Heitzmann with deep lacerations on both arms and both legs on Nov. 2, 2014.
The dog, which animal control officers described as "fearful," is co-owned by Heitzmann and Rick Bellar who live on Belair Ave. in Kelowna.
Loki has an extensive history of threatening behavior and over the course of the three-day trial the court heard testimony from 11 people, including animal control officers, neighbours, trainers, a doctor, an RCMP constable, a mail carrier and a Regional District of Central Okanagan employee.
Loki first came to the attention of the District Feb. 15, 2014 when RCMP seized the eight-month-old dog from Bellar’s vehicle after Bellar was involved in an altercation with another man. Since that time, animal control officers received numerous complaints of the dog being at large in the neighbourhood and several complaints of the dog charging or otherwise behaving aggressively. On Oct. 5, 2015 Loki was declared a “dangerous dog” and his owners were told that another incident could result in an application for euthanasia.
The officers attended to the neighbourhood on six occasions between April 15 and Oct. 8, 2014.
On the morning of Nov. 2 Bellar and Heitzmann were arguing loudly inside their residence, says Cartwright. A friend of the couple came downstairs where Loki nipped him in the foot before turning his attention on Heitzmann.
She suffered lacerations to her legs and arms as well as a broken hand and was hospitalized for two days.
An expert in the behavior of dangerous dogs rated the severity of the attack at level 5. At level 6 the victim is dead.
The expert estimated that rehabilitation would cost thousands of dollars in home modifications and training and expressed doubt that the owners have the capacity to follow through.
“(Bellar and Heitzmann) were significantly late on the first day of trial, for both the morning and afternoon sessions of court,” said Cartwright. “On the second day of trial, Mr. Bellar did not attend, and Ms. Heitzmann was over an hour late. On the third day of trial, neither respondents attended.”
Cartwright ordered that Loki be humanely euthanized in thirty days, as long as the order is not appealed. She also banned both Heitzmann and Bellar from owning or residing with any dog that has been declared “dangerous” for three years. In exchange for the three-year ban, the District has abandoned its claim for costs, which Mary Jane Drouin, manager of corporate services for the District, says would have been between $7,000 and $8,000.
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