Montreal

Sister of woman killed in dog attack 'shocked' by coroner's report

Lise Vadnais slammed some of the coroner's findings, including the notion that breed-specific legislation doesn't work. Christiane Vadnais died in June 2016 after she was mauled by a dog in her backyard.

Lise Vadnais slammed coroner for calling breed-specific laws into question

Lise Vadnais's sister Christiane died last summer after she was attacked by a dog in her backyard. She has been highly critical of the coroner's report into her death. (Radio-Canada)

The sister of a Montreal woman who was fatally mauled by a dog last summer is blasting a coroner's report into her death.

Christiane Vadnais, 55, died after being attacked by her neighbour's dog, which had escaped from its owner's house and entered her backyard through a hole in the fence.

Her death was the driving force behind the passage of breed-specific legislation in Montreal and a similar law at the provincial level, a move the coroner, Dr. Evan Lichtblau, called into question.

Lichtblau calls Montreal's ban of pit bull-type dogs "disappointing" because it condemns all dogs of those breeds without taking into account how they were raised.

Lise Vadnais, the victim's sister, said she couldn't believe some of the report's findings.

"I was shocked at times when I was reading the report. What happened to my sister is atrocious, but when you keep reading …  and it says it's not a good approach to ban pit bulls, I react strongly to that," she said on Radio-Canada's Gravel le matin.

But she is especially angry, she said, that the dog's owner admitted his pet had bitten two of his friends months before attacking Vadnais.

"The event could have saved my sister, if there had been a follow up," she said. The coroner's report confirms there doesn't appear to have been a follow up at the borough level.

"It's very, very revolting."
Christiane Vadnais, left, died in June 2016. Her death spurred a number of new laws regulating dogs across the province. (Facebook)

Call the dog a pit bull, sister implores

Vadnais praised Lichtblau's suggestion to create a registry to track dog bites across the province, but said he's wrong to say breed-specific legislation doesn't decrease attacks.

She pointed to Ontario, where she said a ban on pit bull-type dogs, put in place in 2005, has reduced pit bull attacks.

While the number of pit bulls in the province has decreased, Ontario doesn't keep statistics on dog bites at a provincial level. Municipalities are left to track bites how they see fit.

Results of a DNA test cited in the report found the dog was 87.5 per cent American Staffordshire Terrier, a breed associated with pit bulls. But Lichtblau stopped short of identifying the dog as a pit bull.
A view of the backyard in Pointe-aux-Trembles where Christiane Vadnais was attacked. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

Vadnais slammed the coroner for not labelling the dog, saying he identifies the dog's breed but doesn't commit to it.

She pointed out that by definition, pit bulls are mixed breeds — there is no such thing as a 100 per cent pit bull.

Vadnais says the report implies her sister died because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a claim she said is incredulous, considering she was in her backyard at home.

"I won't accept that. I find it inappropriate."

With files from Radio-Canada's Gravel le matin

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