January 22, 2016 - 10:30 AM
PEACHLAND – The Peachland man whose appeal failed to save the life of his dog this week is accusing the Central Okanagan Regional District of using exhorbant impound fees to keep owners from appealing their decisions.
Drew Panton’s dog Jake was euthanized Thursday, Jan. 20, by order of a judge. The Perro de Presa Canario and another one of Panton’s dogs, a pitbull named buddy, were declared dangerous after they bit and seriously injured a 12-year-old Lhasa Apso on New Years Day 2015.
After hearing testimony from witnesses and dog behaviour experts, Supreme Court judge Anne Wallace ordered Buddy returned with conditions, but Jake was to be euthanized.
Panton thought the regional district’s actions were unfair as this was the first offense for either dog and he appealed Wallace’s decision. Although the decision was upheld and Jake was put down, Panton says at least he got a judge to rule on an owner’s right to a trial by judge, rather than leaving such a major decision up to the regional district.
Now Panton says the regional district had threatened to make him pay back tens of thousands of dollars in care and confinement costs if the appeal failed.
“The first tactic they use is the threat of long term confinement,” he says. “They tell you it will be a year before trial. They say even if you get conditional release you will have to pay for confinement up until trial.”
Justice Ron Skolrood says in his decision that owners must have a way to appeal a decision made by the regional district and that the district could not force Panton to pay back the $22,000 incurred by housing Jake while he awaited his fate.
Regional district spokesperson Bruce Smith sent out a release earlier this week saying they may however, seek from Panton impound costs for providing care and shelter from the date of Wallace’s order on Sept. 3 to the date of the appeal on Dec. 19.
Panton says he has not been told if this will happen, but Smith says they plan to seek at least $20 per day plus any medical expenses incurred.
Smith says he doesn't know if the threat of thousands of dollars in possible costs would deter owners from seeking an appeal.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016