The Victoria courthouse as seen on Jan. 8. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

The Victoria courthouse as seen on Jan. 8. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

‘Dangerous’: City of Victoria takes dog owner to court, cites alleged bylaw offences

Court documents reveal Michael Evans did not license his dog last year

The City of Victoria has won an injunction against a resident who it says violated its Animal Responsibility Bylaw by failing to control his canine on numerous occasions.

Court records show that Michael Evans was issued at least seven tickets last year for bylaw infractions related to his dog Darla, designated as “dangerous” for a 24-month period under the bylaw on Feb. 25.

Last week, the B.C. Supreme Court granted the city’s request for interlocutory injunctions requiring Evans to license his dog, as well as abide by the bylaw’s dangerous dog provisions until the court decides on the city’s petition, or until Feb. 25, 2024 – whichever comes first. An interlocutory injunction is a court order that is issued while a case is still ongoing.

The city submitted affidavits in support of its petition from animal control officers, neighbours of Evans and two members of the public – one of whom claims to have been bitten by Darla, the other claiming that Darla had bitten their own dog.

In the decision, Darla is described as a “pitbull catahoula cross breed” with short, tan-coloured hair and white patches, though Evans has denied the dog being a pitbull. It also noted that the dog was unlicensed for 2022.

“Mr. Evans filed no affidavit evidence in answer to Victoria’s application,” Justice Anthony Saunders wrote in his decision. “On the hearing of this application, he submitted that his dog is not dangerous. He denies that his dog has ever bitten anyone. He disputed the sufficiency of the steps taken by Victoria to notify him of the dangerous dog designation.”

According to Saunders, the question of whether or not Darla is dangerous was not a matter for the court to decide in consideration of the city’s application.

“The dog has been designated as dangerous. Mr. Evans has not taken steps to challenge that designation,” he wrote. “Unless that designation is overturned by this court, or its operation suspended, the designation is presumptively valid and lawful, and Mr. Evans must fulfill the duties of an owner of a dangerous dog as set out in the bylaw.”

Photos presented to the court in evidence show Evans hadn’t fulfilled those duties, added the judge.

“The evidence clearly establishes … that Mr. Evans has breached the bylaw repeatedly and in numerous respects. There no exceptional circumstances that would justify Victoria not being granted the remedy it seeks,” he wrote.

Saunders ordered Evans to obtain a valid licence for his dog and keep it licensed throughout court proceedings.

Evans was further ordered to comply with the bylaw’s dangerous dog provisions, which include displaying a dangerous dog sign from his property, keeping the dog fitted with a muzzle and leash when outside the home and immediately notifying Victoria Animal Control Services Ltd. in the event the dog is loose, or if the dog has bitten or attacked any person or animal.

Court costs were also awarded to the city.

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BC Supreme CourtCity of VictoriaDangerous Animals