Woman charged in dog attack had pets taken away before: court

A Toronto woman facing multiple charges in a dog attack that seriously injured a child was previously deemed an “irresponsible” owner of dangerous dogs and subsequently ordered evicted from her apartment, according to court records and her former landlord.

A 38-year-old woman was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and other offenses after an off-leash dog bit and dragged a child at a Toronto park last Saturday.

Police have said the attack left the child with life-altering injuries.

Court documents show the woman and a man she lived with were the subject of multiple complaints at a Toronto condominium building after one of their dogs “viciously attacked” and injured another resident and her dog in December 2021.

The two American pocket bullies were labeled “dangerous” by the city and ordered to be kept muzzled in public areas, but those orders were not followed, the court heard.

The condominium corporation ultimately asked for a court order that the tenant and her partner permanently remove their dogs from the building because the way they handled the animals “made them a danger and likely to cause injury to other residents, staff, and visitors in the building ,” court records show.

The Ontario Superior Court judge who oversaw the case said the woman and her partner ignored orders to muzzle their pets, allowed the dogs to roam the halls of the building unattended and “have shown themselves to be irresponsible dog owners.”

A woman is seen walking through snow with a dog.
A 38-year-old woman was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and other offenses after an off-leash dog bit and dragged a child at a Toronto park on March 23. (Toronto Police Service handout)

Even after an order was issued compelling the dogs’ removal from the building, there was evidence suggesting the pocket bullies were still being kept in the condo, the judge wrote. In a March 2022 decision, the judge ruled that the woman and her co-tenant’s lease should be terminated and that they must vacate the apartment.

Sabita Singh, the tenant’s former landlord, said the ruling was the culmination of her lengthy and frustrating attempts to get the dogs out of the building and regain control of her condo.

Dogs returned to owner by animal control, after being initially taken away

Before the case landed in Superior Court, Singh said he unsuccessfully tried to get the tenants evicted through the Landlord and Tenant Board. She also said multiple residents of the condo building had contacted the city to report the dogs but no real action to remove the animals was taken until a court order was issued.

Even then, court records show, animal control officers gave the dogs back to the woman instead of confiscating them. Even though the dogs were no longer allowed to be in the building, the tenants brought them back to the condo, Singh said.

Singh said the dog that attacked the child in the park on Saturday looked a lot like Capo, one of the two dogs that were kept in the condo.

She said she was “heartbroken” when she heard about the child’s injuries.

“That child is permanently damaged from this attack and I just feel so bad for the poor little boy and his family,” she said. “And it could have been avoided.”

Police said the dog was seized and handed over to Toronto Animal Services.

The charges against the accused stemming from that incident have not been tested in court. A Toronto courthouse where the woman made an appearance on Monday said there was no defense lawyer listed for the case. The accused is due back in court on April 18.

Council approved dangerous dog registry

On March 21, a few days before the Saturday attack, the city approved a motion to create a registry of dangerous dogs that will include the dog’s name, breed and color, and the date of the dangerous act.

Coun. Paula Fletcher was behind the motion. Speaking to CBC Toronto after Saturday’s attack, she said she wants to see a stronger reaction and follow up when it comes to injuries caused by dogs.

“It’s not a normal circumstance and my motion and my desire is to see dogs of this nature dealt with in a very strong way,” Fletcher said. “It’s not ‘Fluffy’ down the street here. It’s a very dangerous animal.”

By hadem