Item - 2021.DG20.1
- This item was considered by the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal on July 5, 2021.
DG20.1 - Levente Laszlo and Christine Curran - Appeal DDRT2021-10
- Decision Type:
The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal:
1. Rescinded the determination of a dangerous dog and exempted the applicant from compliance with the Dangerous Dog Order issued March 13, 2021, and directed the Tribunal forward the reasons for this decision to Levente Laszlo and Christine Curran and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on or before July 20, 2021.
Decision Advice and Other Information
On July 5, 2021, the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal reserved its decision and directed that the Tribunal forward its decision and reasons to Levente Laszlo and Christine Curran and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on or before July 20, 2021.
On July 12, 2021, the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal issued reasons for its decision as follows:
The City has failed to prove on a balance of probabilities that the Appellants’ dog, Wilbur, is the alleged dog in the attack against Patricia Daley on March 2, 2021. Given this finding, there is no need for the Tribunal to determine whether the attack was severe.
1. The Tribunal accepts that Mr. Laszlo and Dr. Curran own 2 dogs, Luna and Wilbur.
2. The Tribunal accepts as fact that Wilbur is a Plott Hound mix.
3. The Tribunal accepts that on March 2, 2021 at approximately 12:30 pm, an unidentified dog attacked Patricia Daley in and around Lloyd Manor Road and Prince George Drive (“the Attack”).
4. The Tribunal also accepts the video surveillance footage of the Attack provided by Clifford Linton.
5. On March 4, 2021, Mr. Linton provided Officer Guerrieri a written statement. He also attended the hearing and gave oral testimony under oath and stated that he witnessed the Attack through the window of his home office, when he heard a woman screaming. In addition to this, Mr. Linton provided additional facts that were not indicated in his written statement (and which were not disclosed to the City before his oral testimony during the hearing). When he was asked about these facts on cross-examination, Mr. Linton indicated that he felt that his memory of the Attack was better now than it had been at the time of the incident some 4 months earlier. Some of the additional facts provided by Mr. Linton at the hearing were contradicted by Mr. Laszlo and two of the written statements before the Tribunal. In this regard, some of the contradictions were as follows:
a. Mr. Linton stated he had seen a white minivan driven by a woman (with another dog in the vehicle) pick up the dog he identified as the perpetrator of the dangerous act. Mr. Linton further testified that he saw the same white minivan driven by the same woman drive by his home twice while Ms. Daley was attended to by paramedics on his property. He stated that he saw this same white minivan in the driveway of Mr. Laszlo and Dr. Curran when he drove around the neighborhood. Mr. Lazlo testified under oath, however, that neither he nor his wife own a white minivan.
b. Radmila Petrovic Guzina (“Guzina”) submitted a written statement indicating that on March 2, 2021, around 11:45 am she returned Mr. Laszlo’s other dog, Luna, to his home after she got out of Mr. Laszlo’s backyard. Similarly, Mr. Laszlo testified that Guzina had returned Luna to their home.
c. Walter Kowalahuk submitted a written statement that he returned Wilbur to Mr. Laszlo’s wife, Dr. Curran, after Wilbur had come into Mr. Kowalahuk’s backyard.
6. Leonard Heafy, a professional dog trainer, provided a detailed written assessment of Wilbur dated March 21, 2021. Mr. Heafy also testified under oath during the hearing that he watched the video of the Attack several times and stated with “100 percent certainty, beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the dog in the video was not Wilbur. He further gave evidence that in his professional opinion, the behaviour of the dog in the video was not consistent with Wilbur’s behaviour and the dog in the video did not even look like a Plott Hound breed.
7. Mr. Heafey also testified that as Wilbur’s trainer he tried to replicate the situation depicted in the video, but Wilbur not only did not attack but tried to run away.
8. The Tribunal found that Officer Guerrieri’s investigation, while warranted, was less than thorough. While she admitted during her testimony that she was aware that there were several other dogs in the area who looked similar to Wilbur, she testified she saw no need to investigate other dogs as she was “100%” certain Wilbur was responsible for the attack. The Tribunal found that her evidence appeared to focus on the difference in appearance between Luna and Wilbur. Further, Officer Guerrieri ignored numerous emails from the Appellant’s counsel prior to the issuance of the Dangerous Dog Order, which prevented Officer Guerrieri from hearing the competing narrative and the Appellant’s version of events.
Based on the evidence and for the reasons above, the Tribunal unanimously rescinds the determination of the Dangerous Dog Order.
The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal commenced hearing Appeal DDRT2021-10 at its June 17, 2021 meeting and adjourned consideration of the item to the July 5, 2021 special meeting of the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal.
Appeal of Dangerous Dog Order issued, March 13, 2021, Appeal DDRT2021-10.
(March 13, 2021) Dangerous Dog Order
(July 12, 2021) Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal Written Decision DDRT2021-10
(June 16, 2021) Submission from Municipal Licensing and Standards (DG.Main)
(June 16, 2021) Submission from Jennifer Friedman, Barrister and Solicitor, Canada's Animal Lawyer, on behalf of Levante Laszlo and Christine Curran (DG.Main)
Jennifer Friedman, Barrister and Solicitor, Canada's Animal Lawyer
Leonard Heafey, Professional Canine Trainer
At 2:00 p.m. - That the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal recess its public session and meet in closed session to deliberate.
At 2:29 p.m. - That the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal reconvene in open public session.
That the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal:
1. Reserve its decision at this time and direct that the Tribunal forward its decision and reasons to Levente Laszlo and Christine Curran and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on or before July 20, 2021.