New Brunswick

Dog owner facing criminal charges gets more time to review evidence

Owner accused of letting dogs run wild on Saint John's west side, where they allegedly attacked four people last year.

Michael Edmond Kirby's lawyer not present in court Tuesday

Michael Edmond Kirby faces four charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. (CBC)

Michael Edmond Kirby, accused of letting his dogs run wild on Saint John's west side, where they allegedly attacked four people last year, has been given more time to review the Crown's case against him.

Kirby faces four charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Four male individuals made separate complaints between August and December last year.

The court heard Kirby has counsel on the criminal matters, although his lawyer, Brian Ferguson, was not present in court on Tuesday.

Kirby said he's still trying to decide whether he wants to hire a lawyer to defend him on more than two dozen alleged bylaw infractions.

Dogs surrendered

At a previous court appearance, Kirby said his four dogs had already been surrendered to the SPCA.

They're described in the court records as Louisiana Catahoula leopard dogs.

Bred for hunting and herding, there are videos online that show the dogs tracking wild boar and, on command, attacking the boar.

Some of the scenes are graphic and bloody.

No trial date set

Kirby has entered not guilty pleas on all the counts against him. 

His Tuesday appearance was for the purpose of setting down a date for trial. 

But Kirby said he only received a replacement set of disclosure documents 12 days earlier and wanted more time to review them.

The Crown said it expects to call 10 or 12 witnesses for a full-day trial on the bylaw infractions.

Among other things, Kirby is accused of failing to license and tag his dogs and allowing them to run at large.

The Crown said the criminal trial would probably take "twice as long."

About the Author

Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.