Saskatchewan

Sask. man mauled by junkyard dogs wins lawsuit

A Yorkton, Sask., area man who was severely mauled by a pack of dogs ìn an auto wrecking yard has won a lawsuit.

Yorkton-area man needed surgery, screamed from nightmares, court told

A Yorkton, Sask., area man who was severely mauled by a pack of dogs ìn an auto wrecking yard has won a lawsuit.

The 65-year-old has been awarded $324,000 in damages, plus interest, after a Queen's Bench judge ruled the salvage yard owner, Carl Joseph Belitski, was negligent.

Court heard the man had gone to the yard, a business on a farm property, in the fall of 2008 looking for wheel rims for his daughter's car.

He had seen a number of dogs on the property and while he was looking around, one group of young dogs attacked him, court heard.

"Other dogs attacked him from behind, biting his legs and his arms. The dogs that attacked him were larger, black dogs," Justice Guy Chicoine said in his 34-page decision.

The man believes five or six dogs attacked him.

"The first dog to attack him grabbed his right leg. Another dog grabbed his left leg. Yet another jumped at his face but [the man]  punched at it and it went down."

After that, two more dogs began grabbing at his legs as one or two jumped on his back and pulled him down. 

"[The man] fought with the dogs, kicking and hollering at them, trying to get away from them. However the dogs just kept chewing on him, pulling his boot off, refusing to stop. He could not get away and the dogs kept up their attack."

At one point, it looked like one of the dogs had chewed his foot down to the bone, court heard.

Finally, the man grabbed a stick, and that got results — the dogs immediately backed off. 

In hospital, the man was treated for numerous bites to his arms and legs. He received dozens of stitches, spent 16 weeks in hospital and was off work for months.

He also received skin grafts and plastic surgery on his legs.

Court heard he suffers from nightmares, which cause him to scream in the middle of the night, and is afraid of dogs.

The man sued the wreckage yard owner.

The owner said his dogs weren't dangerous and he took reasonable efforts to restrain them. He also said the man had no business being in his salvage yard and he instructed him to stay in his vehicle.

However, the judge said he accepted the victim's statement that there was no such warning.

"He had no inkling of what danger laid ahead when he drove into Mr. Belitski's salvage yard that morning," Chicoine wrote in his Feb. 12, 2015, decision, which was recently posted on an online legal database.

 Court heard Belitski destroyed the dogs following the incident.

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