Owner Must Re-Home Aggressive Dog

Pets are often a polarizing issue: are owners permitted pets, if so, what kind of pets are they allowed. Even if owners are permitted to have pets in their strata lot, the strata can force the removal of the pet under certain circumstances.

In the case of The Owners, Strata Plan BCS 1644 v Lukovic, 2018 BCCRT 219, the owners kept a German Sheppard dog in their strata lot. Starting in 2014, the strata council received complaints about the dog being aggressive. In February of 2015, there was a complaint that the dog attacked a person, unprovoked, and bit the person.

As a result, my mid-February 2015, council contacted the dog owners to investigate the complaints, and were considering declaring the dog as aggressive as per the bylaws. Council advised the owners that the dog was to be muzzled at all times on the common property, and invited the owners to respond.

The owners responded denying the attack.

Council did not agree with the owners, declared the dog to be aggressive and ordered the owners to re-home the dog.

When the owners refused to re-home the dog, and the council continued to receive complaints about the dog's aggressive behaviour, the strata sued the owners in the Civil Resolution Tribunal to order the dog to be removed.

The CRT agreed that the dog was aggressive and a problem: it had a tendency to attack other pets without provocation, and had bitten a person without provocation. The CRT ordered the owners to remove the dog within 60 days and then assessed $5,000 in fines against the owner (reduced from the $26,000 in fines claimed by the strata).

This case goes to show that owners do not have an unlimited right to a pet even though the bylaws permit the pet. Owners must keep control over their pets, ensure their pets are not a nuisance, and ensure their pets are not aggressive or harming other people and pets.






TAEYA FITZPATRICK

Taeya Fitzpatrick has specialized in strata law for most of her practice, has won cases for her clients in the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal, and assisted with a client succeeding in defending a Civil Resolution Tribunal claim. Taeya offers full services to a strata corporation or a strata owner from redrafting the strata’s bylaws, collection of outstanding strata fees or other charges, issues with bylaw enforcement, to amending the strata plan. For more information on the services provided, you can reach Taeya by email, phone: 250-762-6111, or at her Web Page

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