Vulnerable BC woman loses dog because supportive housing too dangerous | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vulnerable BC woman loses dog because supportive housing too dangerous

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A BC woman living in a supportive housing unit has failed to get her dog returned to her after a Review Board ruled the home wasn't a safe place for a dog.

The woman, nonetheless, is expected to continue living there.

The case involves a German shepherd called Duke and his owner Stephanie-Lynn St. Pierre. The two of them lived in an unnamed supportive housing facility for economically vulnerable persons in Vancouver.

According to a recently published May 9 British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board decision, Duke had overdosed three times while living with St. Pierre and was being abused by other people who lived there.

While St. Pierre didn't abuse the dog, others living there had done so, and some of the abuse had been captured on surveillance video.

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"Duke was observed being kicked in the ribs, having his paw stepped on, being punched in the back of the head, being kicked in the head, having his snout stomped and repeatedly being dragged by his leash on the sidewalk," the Review Board said in the decision.

At the time St. Pierre was unaware Duke was being abused.

The police and BC SPCA officers had visited the complex on several occasions and told St. Pierre not to leave the dog with anyone else.

However, she failed to protect Duke and in March the dog was seized by the authorities.

Duke was found to be largely healthy but anxious. 

St. Pierre appealed to get the dog back.

The decision said that during the hearing St. Pierre had repeatedly said her current housing situation was not a safe place for Duke.

"Despite her efforts to secure a safe residence for herself and for Duke, there is currently no safe housing available for Duke to be returned to, and no confirmed safe housing that would be available with certainty in the immediate future," the decision reads.

St. Pierre said she had made several applications for housing in a safer location where she could keep Duke but so far had not had any luck.

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The Review Board said that while the violence against Duke wasn't committed by St. Pierre and many of the circumstances were outside of her control, it wouldn't be giving the dog back as the environment isn't safe for a dog.

Along with losing Duke, she will now have to pay $1,902 to cover the cost of the seizure.

While not safe for a dog, St. Pierre will have to continue living at the supportive housing facility.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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