Dogs killed because owner on welfare, Sask. tribunal hears
A human rights tribunal is hearing the case of a Saskatchewan woman who says officials killed her three dogs because she's on welfare.
On Thursday, the tribunal in Regina heard testimony from Jacqueline Nash, who says the Town of Wolseley euthanized the dogs because it assumed she couldn't pay to get them out of the pound.
It's illegal under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code to discriminate against people collecting public assistance.
Nash described her German shepherds as her best friends.
"I am disabled and fairly housebound. They are with me all the time," she said. "They are constant companions."
Three years ago, her mother dog and pups got out of her house in Wolseley, which is about 100 kilometres east of Regina. Nash spent the next several days frantically searching for them. Animal control picked them up and by the time Nash found out, the three dogs had been put down.
"Here they had been within blocks of my home. I'd asked everywhere to find out where they might be. I was absolutely devastated," she said.
One of the dogs was licensed, and so could have been traced back to her, she said.
She thinks town officials didn't tell her they had been picked up because they assumed she wouldn't be able to pay the nearly $1,000 it would have taken to get them out of the pound.
Town of Wolseley lawyer Juliana Saxberg said officials weren't obligated to inform Nash. The town denies it discriminated against her.
"Even if everything turns out to be true, I'm not seeing that discrimination directly connected to the receipt of public assistance," Saxberg said.
Under the town's dog bylaw, animals at large are impounded for three days and if they're not claimed, they're killed, Saxberg said.
Nash wants to be compensated for her suffering.
The hearing before tribunal chair Dirk Silversides continues Friday.