"Maple attacked Latte": Dog owners sue each other after park attack
A dog attack sent one Goldendoodle into veterinary care and forced two dog owners into a BC court.
A claim was made by Christina Jieun Woo, who claims that her Goldendoodle, Latte, was attacked by another dog named Maple, a Staffordshire Terrier.
In response, Emalie Laframboise, the owner of Maple, filed a counterclaim suggesting Latte initiated the attack and Maple acted in self-defence.
Which dog instigated the attack and who won the case?
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According to Woo’s initial claim, “Maple attacked Latte,” causing injuries that required veterinary care, including surgery. Woo claimed $901.60 for Latte’s veterinary medical care costs.
Laframboise suggests that Latte was the instigator in the dog attack, and Maple acted in self-defence. She says Maple also suffered injuries that required attention from the vet. She noted that Woo began harassing and threatening her after the attack, which she told the court “exacerbated her anxiety, depression, OCD, and fibromyalgia.”
She claimed $1,851.71 for vet care costs, missed work, and mental health impacts.
The attack and the evidence
On May 26 last year, both owners were with their pups at a local off-leash dog park. The court record states there was “an incident” between the dogs.
Both parties shared contact information after the incident. While none of these points are disputed, both parties suggest that the other’s dogs were the aggressor.
Woo says that when the dogs approached each other, Maple started growling, showed her canine teeth at Latte, and tried to jump on top of Latte. Laframboise put Maple back on her leash and took her to the other side of the park. Later, Laframboise asked Woo if she could take Maple off-leash again, and Woo hesitantly agreed.
Woo says that almost immediately after Maple was unleashed, she attacked Latte and that the attack lasted a few seconds.
Laframboise’s version of events is the exact opposite. She says that Latte ran up to Maple, growling. She doesn’t dispute putting Maple back on her leash but added that Woo advised her that Latte would be fine. Later, Latte was nearby, and Maple went to “say hi.”
Laframboise says Latte snarled, showed her teeth, and instigated the altercation with Maple. She says Maple used her chest and pushed Latte to the ground in self-defence and says Latte put seven puncture wounds onto Maple’s face, and Maple bit Latte’s leg to try to get Latte to let go of Maple’s face.
Woo provided a witness statement from a neutral party, who the court calls AS.
AS corroborated Woo’s version of events, saying that after Maple was allowed off her leash again, she “attacked almost immediately.”
AS said that Maple got a hold of Latte’s leg and that Latte was shrieking in pain. AS added that Maple’s owner struggled to make Maple release.
The tribunal member overseeing the case found Laframboise’s evidence to be lacking. Laframboise suggested there was no reason to believe that Maple would be aggressive, and the tribunal member disagreed, pointing to the growling and snarling from Maple.
“I find Ms. Laframboise’s negligence and breach of the standard of care led directly to Latte’s injuries.”
The tribunal member also dismissed Laframboise’s claims of mental distress.
In the end, Woo was awarded $1,046.71, which included $901.60 in damages, $20.11 in pre-judgment interest, and $125 in CRT fees.