Death-row dog gets reprieve in Whitehorse

A Yukon Supreme Court judge extended a temporary stay of execution Thursday for Trevor, a dog that faced euthanization at the Whitehorse city pound.

A Yukon Supreme Court judge extended a temporary stay of execution Thursday afternoon for Trevor, a dog that was going to be put down at the Whitehorse city pound, sparking a public outcry.

Justice James Wong extended a temporary injunction stopping city bylaw officials from euthanizing the Rottweiler-shepherd cross, which the city has deemed to be a dangerous dog.

The injunction was extended so that Trevor can be properly assessed.

Trevor had been held at the city pound for the past three weeks, pending Thursday's court challenge. Had the court ruled in the city's favour, the dog would have been put down on Friday.

The decision came a a relief to Whitehorse resident Kevin Sinclair, who launched the court challenge with the Humane Society Yukon to stop Trevor from being put down without an independent assessment.

"It appears we're going to get an honest shot, to have him assessed, to have people look at him and not just somebody unilaterally deciding his death," Sinclair said outside court following the decision.

"If he comes back negative, everybody's got to take their medicine."

Trevor will now be assessed by a dog behaviour expert to determine if he can be rehabilitated. His final fate will be decided on Sept. 21.

Rescued from abuse

Thursday's ruling marks the first time the Yukon Supreme Court has had to decide the fate of a dog.

City bylaw officers rescued Trevor early this year, after he was discovered with an undersized collar badly ingrown into his neck. Trevor was taken to the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, where staff and volunteers cared for him until he was adopted out in May.

The humane society, which runs the shelter, has argued that Trevor was not aggressive when he was in its care.

But a number of people claim the dog has randomly attacked individuals, including children. Some have sworn affidavits asserting that Trevor attacked and bit them.

The dog's last owner, Matthew Allaby, surrendered him to the city pound last month, after Trevor bit a friend on the arm.

Shelter workers have disputed the reports about Trevor's attacks and demanded an independent reassessment.

The court case has attracted worldwide attention in the past week, with people around the globe signing petitions and writing letters in favour of keeping the dog alive.

Humane society executive director Rachel Westfall said she hopes to have Trevor assessed locally, although the society has received offers of help from people across North America claiming to be "dog whisperers."

Westfall say the society would ultimately like to have Trevor rehabilitated and placed in a rural home.