A judge recently ordered a five-year-old Abbotsford pit bull to be euthanized after the dog was involved in a series of aggressive attacks – including one that was fatal – against other dogs.
Judge Gregory Brown stated in his Oct. 5th ruling in Abbotsford provincial court that there was a “significant likelihood” that the male dog, Bruno, “could kill or seriously injure an animal or human in the future.”
The animal control officer for the Fraser Valley Regional District can apply to have a dog destroyed if it meets criteria that include that it has killed or seriously injured a person or domestic animal in a public place.
According to court documents, Bruno was involved in a few incidents, including one on June 4, 2021 in which a small dog – described as a “Jack Russell type” – was shaken and died.
The documents indicate that Bruno was being walked on a leash by a friend of his owner, when the smaller dog, which was tethered in its front yard, “came barking and lunging at Bruno.”
Bruno grabbed the Jack Russell by the scruff of the neck, and the woman tried to break the dogs apart. Neighbours came running with shovels and hit Bruno, trying to get him to release the smaller dog.
Bruno eventually released the dog but then grabbed it again in its mouth and shook it, the court documents states. The owner spent “thousands of dollars” on vet bills, but the dog died.
According to the documents, other incidents involving Bruno include the following:
• on Dec. 29, 2018, a woman was walking her 11-year-old pit bull and puppy on leashes when Bruno, who was not leashed, ran at them and “latched on to” the older dog’s face and ear. The vet bills amounted to just under $1,200. The animal control officer declared him an aggressive dog, which required him to be leashed, muzzled and contained.
• on Aug. 17, 2021, a man was walking his standard poodle and opened the steel door to his apartment building, when Bruno charged toward him and his dog. Bruno’s primary dog walker testified that he had been walking Bruno with a harness and leash, but the judge said video evidence showed the man “appeared to have poor control” of Bruno because he was carrying a large box at the same time. Bruno bit the poodle in the face, and it took two to three minutes to pry him off. The poodle suffered a rip from its ear to it neck.
Bruno was seized by animal control on Jan. 24, 2022.
His owner, Nicole Carlson, had owned Bruno since his birth and testified that she had a close bond with him.
She described him as “very affectionate” and “protective of his owner and other people.”
“They see Bruno as provoked or attacked first in some of the prior incidents,” Brown stated in his ruling.
Several people even signed a petition to support Bruno as a “net positive dog for our planet.”
Carlson stated that her management plan with Bruno was to have him live with her at her parents’ rural home, where there is a fenced yard and a padlock.
An expert on companion animal behaviour and the clinical management of aggressive dogs testified that Bruno was motivated to bite other dogs “when they approach his territory, when they get close to him and, finally, without provocation.”
The expert stated that she did not believe that Bruno should be returned to Carlson and that a responsible owner for him “would be very difficult to find.”
The judge said any management plan would require Bruno to be taught to wear a muzzle and not be permitted to walk with any other dog until it has been determined safe to do so, but “past events have shown that Ms. Carlson could not comply with such a requirement.”
Brown ruled that Bruno is a dangerous dog and should be destroyed “by being humanely euthanized,
“These decisions are not easy. I have owned five dogs in my lifetime,” Brown said.