Cap-Pelé kennel owner negligent after dog fatally attacked
Khoof-Shaw kennel owner said 'no way of knowing' fatal dog attack would happen
A Moncton couple is warning pet owners to be extra careful where they leave their animals while they are away after one of their toy fox terriers was killed by another dog at a kennel in Cap-Pelé.
They settled on Khoof-Shaw kennel in Cap-Pelé, which was operated by Cindy Mallery, and the two left on their European vacation.
When they were away, Shelley said they received an email from a veterinarian in Shediac, that one of Mallery's dogs had attacked Que and that their dog was dead.
According to a court document, the dogs at the kennel became agitated when another dog, a boxer, came into sight.
“[Mallery] went to get the boxer, but while she was out of the compound Teaka attacked Que, inflicting mortal wounds upon the smaller dog. Teaka was one of the dogs that was being trained as an attack dog,” according to the court document.
A court document also said Shelley and Martin did not fully appreciate that Mallery offered Schutzhund training, which is the training of attack dogs.
Martin said they would not have boarded their two dogs at the facility had they known attack dogs were trained at the same facility, according to the court document.
Another dog killed at same kennel
Shelley said she was shocked to later find out a similar incident, also involving dogs owned and trained by Mallery, had happened at that kennel, but it was never mentioned to her.
“Maybe she should have used that as a warning to her, she's taking on two small dogs, maybe I should keep them separate, from my own personal dogs.”
Two months earlier, Renée Fougère left her silky terrier, named Pixi, at the Khoof-Shaw kennel.
She said she had worked with Mallery in the past and trusted her.
When she got home from her holiday, she learned that Pixi had been killed by a pair of Belgian shepherds belonging to Mallery.
Fougère said she was horrified by what happened and was devastated to lose her dog.
But after a few days she talked to Mallery about the incident.
“What I had told her is, I'm not going to pursue this in court, I'm not going to fight with you, accidents can happen, obviously this was a terrible accident, it wasn't planned by anybody,” Fougère said.
“I didn't feel she had been negligent, but I asked her, ‘Make sure it never happens again. So whatever you have to do.’”
Owner found to be negligent
Fougère didn't take legal action against the kennel, but Shelley and Martin decided to take Mallery to small claims court.
“I felt it was gross negligence and didn't support claims on her website about being experienced and understanding dog behaviour,” Shelley said.
“Further into that I wanted to find out who these dogs were, and when I started drilling into her website, I also found she was breeding Belgian shepherds, and a member of the Schutzhund organization. Drilling down we saw the dogs showing teeth and things that disturbed us enough to pursue it in small claims court.”
There was no way of knowing that it would happen. There was no indication from any of the dogs involved that this would happen, let alone in that short amount of time.- Cindy Mallery
On Sept. 19, Myer Rabin, an adjudicator with the Small Claims Court of New Brunswick, ruled in favour of Shelley and Martin. Rabin awarded them $1,894 in damages for the price of the dog and the boarding fees.
Rabin said in the decision that Mallery was negligent.
He said she should have restrained the agitated dog or removed the smaller dog from the compound.
Mallery didn't want to do an interview, but she provided a statement.
She said Shelley and Martin were fully aware of how the kennel was organized and the owners declined an offer to keep their dogs separate from others.
Mallery also said her dogs are not reactive or aggressive towards other dogs.
“There was no way of knowing that it would happen. There was no indication from any of the dogs involved that this would happen, let alone in that short amount of time,” Mallery wrote in a statement.
In respect to the deaths of Pixi and Que, Mallery said both situations were different scenarios with different dogs.
“It is very unfortunate these incidents happened, I am very sorry that it did happen, and my heart goes out to both families,” she wrote.
“Sadly there was no way of predicting that either one would happen.”
SPCA rules on kennels
The New Brunswick SPCA requires kennels to pay $250 for a “pet establishment licence,” which is valid for one year.
Kennels are not required to be insured in order to get a licence.
The SPCA does not do background checks on the owners of these establishments.
Hilary Howe, the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, said it is up to pet owners to confirm the experience and credentials of people running kennels.
“There's always room for improvement, anytime you develop a piece of legislation, there's always tweaks that can be made to it," Howe said.
"Also when you bring in a piece of legislation, people find ways around it and so you always have to close loopholes, that may be the case here, where the pet establishment licensing regulations in New Brunswick may need a review,” Howe said.
Howe said there are even fewer rules for doggy day-cares, where pet owners leave their dogs just for the day.
The owners of the two dogs that were killed at the Cap-Pelé facility say they have ideas on new rules for those operating kennels.
Fougère said there should be a disclaimer added to contracts that pet owners sign when they leave their dog at a kennel that anything could happen.
Shelley would like to see a database established that tracked any deaths or serious injuries at these kennels.
Shelley said she thought she did homework before leaving her dogs at the kennel, but obviously more steps are needed to help pet owners.
Shelley said the couple did everything they could think of to find the right place for their dogs, but at the end of the day, there are no guarantees when leaving pet care to a business operator.