A man who ran to help a dog being attacked does not have to pay damages related to the fight, the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled.
In a decision released Friday, tribunal vice-chair Andrea Ritchie said Manmeet Bajwa was not responsible for the fight that left Jessica Barth’s dog, Taz, dead on April 12, 2019. Barth had been seeking $5,000 in damages, to cover both Taz’ purchase price and for “pain and suffering” as a result of the attack.
At issue is a dog fight that happened when Barth and her roommate were loading a car in front of their home. Taz, her Pomeranian, was nearby.
Barth said that another dog, named Rambo, came running towards them and attacked Taz. She said she saw Bajwa trying to stop Rambo, a pitbull, during the attack, and alleges he was carrying a leash and collar with him.
Barth alleged that Bajwa was responsible for the dog at the time, although she acknowledged he was was not Rambo’s owner. For his part, Bajwa said he thought the dog was a stray and that he only came to help because he thought Rambo was attacking a cat.
In an interview with animal control the day of the attack, Bajwa said he had seen the dog hanging around his work site that day but did not know whose it was, nor what it was doing there.
In her decision, Ritchie said the only people liable for a pet’s behaviour are its owner or anyone who officially takes responsibility for the dog, like a boarder or a trainer. As Bajwa was neither, Ritchie dismissed the $5,000 in damages against him.