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Peachland dog owner accuses regional district of dirty tricks

Peachland resident Drew Panton and Buddy, one of two dogs that bit and seriously injured another dog Jan. 1, 2015.
Image Credit: Facebook
January 06, 2017 - 8:00 PM

PEACHLAND – The owner of a dog labelled dangerous by the regional district is accusing them of using licence fees to get around a judge’s ruling.

Peachland resident Drew Panton’s two off-leash dogs — Buddy, an American bulldog, and Jake, a presa canario — attacked and fatally injured a Lhasa apso on New Year’s Day in 2015.

The regional district seized Jake and Buddy and sought a dangerous dog order.

On Aug. 4, Judge Anne Wallace ordered Jake be euthanized and after hearing testimony from an animal behavior expert, ruled Buddy could return home if kept under strict conditions.

Panton thought the regional district’s actions were unfair because 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 he says the regional district has switched tactics.

“Instead of licencing as dangerous dog for $75 a year, they’ve sent me a notice saying it’s going to cost $500 a year,” he says. “How do you justify a (566) per cent increase?”

Panton estimates he has already spent roughly $25,000 upgrading his yard in accordance with the judge’s orders, and accuses the Regional District of squeezing him to the point where he can no longer afford to keep his best friend.

“It’s an obvious attempt to tell people even if you win (in court) we’re still going to hit you for $500 a year and nobody can stop us. I’ve never seen a more blatant attempt to get by a judge’s decision.”

Panton is no stranger to court either. He represented himself against the regional district in Provincial Court trying to save Jake from death row. Now he says it looks like he’ll be headed back.

“The only process I have is to not buy a licence and then challenge the ticket in a Provincial courtroom,” he says.

According to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan website, any dog owner caught with an unlicenced dog will be fined $300 plus the cost of the licence.

A judge ruled that Jake (left) be declared a dangerous dog and euthanized, while Buddy (right) must be housed under strict conditions after both attacked a much smaller dog in Peachland Jan. 1, 2015.
A judge ruled that Jake (left) be declared a dangerous dog and euthanized, while Buddy (right) must be housed under strict conditions after both attacked a much smaller dog in Peachland Jan. 1, 2015.
Image Credit: Facebook

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