Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Coroner Report from Montreal Agrees BSL is NOT the Answer

This week the coroner's report was released from the tragic and preventable death of Christiane Vadnais, who was killed in her backyard by her neighbours dog. Mrs. Vadnais lived in the borough of Anjou, which is part of Montreal, QC.

First and foremost I'd like to state that it is unacceptable for anyone to be killed by a dog in their own back yard. 

In this particular case there are a few glaring points that add to the tragic circumstances. 

-There was supposed to have been a follow up done with the dog owner regarding the dangerousness of the dog after the first biting incident took place in 2015. This was never done.

-If there had been a follow through of checking in on the dog, the likelihood is high that she would still be alive today.

-There were serious concerns for the containment of the dog. 

-Although the owner of the dog stated the dog was well looked after, the evidence pointed otherwise. The dog allegedly didn't receive enough socialization with animals or people, cleanliness was an issue and general care of the dog seemed well below standard. 

If any city or municipality assumes control of dangerous dog bylaw and control the onus must then fall on the city or municipality to do all in it's power to ensure effective laws are put in place and they are strictly enforced in order to protect the public. 

In this case the dog was involved in previous serious biting incidents and there was to be follow up. The lack of follow up and follow through is a large contributing factor to Mrs. Vadnais's death. 

The fact that the dog owner was not charged with any wrong doing is outrageous. That would speak to the fact that all onus was put on the dog and no responsibility or accountability is assumed by the dog owner or the city. 

To blame a dog's breed and in this case the dog was a mix breed dog, is ludicrous. It states there was a DNA test done and the result said the dog was 87.5% American Staffordshire Terrier. 

DNA tests are unreliable and not admissible in court. The companies admit the tests are flawed and are not to be used as evidence. Based on the fact that American Staffordshire Terrier purebreds (CKC numbers) are so rare it is fairly unlikely the result was correct however that is a moot point since breed cannot be proved as the cause of dog aggression. 

Here is a link to the coroner's report. It is in French so I'm also including a text version of a direct Google translation text as well. Some of the terms are rough because of the translation but you will be able to determine what it is saying.

Coroner's Investigation Report
An Act respecting the determination of the causes and circumstances of death for families, relatives and organizations.

Concerning the death of
Christiane Vadnais

Dr. Ethan Lichtblau
Date of notice No file
2016-06-08 2016-00495

First name at birth
Christiane Vadnais
Name at birth
Date of birth
Municipality of residence, Province, Country
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Name of mother Mother's first name
Joyal Rejeanne
Name of father Father's first name
Vadnais Paul-Émile

Date of death
Determined Home
Place of death Place name Municipality of death

Ms. Christiane Vadnais is visually identified at the scene of the death.

An investigation report by the Montreal Police Department indicates that on June 8, 2016, At approximately 1648, a neighbor saw a movement behind the fence in the rear its housing. After a few seconds, he realizes that a dog devoured the leg of a woman. The neighbor immediately dialed 9-1-1. At 17:04, the police responded to a appeal concerning the body of a woman, inanimate, being eaten by a dog in the back yard of his neighbor. The other police officers arrived at the scene at 1710 hours. They saw a pitbull dog brown and white. The dog wears a harness and a muzzle hangs on his neck. A policeman enters the yard by forcing the door. It notes that there are shreds of bloody clothes. He sees the dog clinging to something that is hidden by the bush. When he enters, the dog looks at him and rushes towards him, his mouth open.
The officer finds that there are residues of pieces of flesh on the edge of his mouth, shows the teeth, that it is agitated and that it does not listen to the orders given. The agent gives a blow with the dog bar in the mouth. The dog recoils and barks aggressive. The policeman leaves the court.

For histological (ie, microscopic) examination, the heart demonstrates coronary atherosclerosis with stenosis of 75-85% and 60-70%, in the arteries anterior and right coronary arteries (technical problems do not to evaluate the stenosis in the circumflex). The lungs have embolisms fatty and significant emphysematous changes. Toxicological analyzes are performed in the LSJML. BAC is negative. Any other substance, drug or drug is detected. According to the pathologist, the hemorrhagic aspect of most wounds and the presence of fatty embolisms in the lungs indicate that Mrs. Vadnais is alive at to suffer his injuries. However, the autopsy revealed coronary artery disease which could have lowered Mrs. Vadnais's tolerance to hemorrhage, physical and pain, and thus, lead to a more rapid death. According to the pathologist, the cause of death is polytrauma dog bites. An autopsy is also performed on the dog at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Saint-Hyacinthe. The dog is a male weighing 33.8 kg, died of lesions caused by projectiles of firearms. The result of a rabies screening test is negative. The DNA of the animal involved in the attack is subjected for analysis to the DNA test of Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel (Vancouver, WA, USA). The result shows that this dog is 87.5% of the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. (Note: "Wisdom Panel® is not intended for use by persons responsible for the regulation or control of animals to determine whether a particular breed is banned in a country or particular. The Wisdom Panel® should not be used in court. Rather, it is intended to be used as a tool or resource in the determining the genetic history of a dog, "according to the director of general affairs, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel.) Samples of the dog and a specimen of blood from Mrs. Vadnais are sent to analysis in the biology / DNA section of LSJML. Expertise is also sought from the judicial odontologist to compare the marks of bites on Ms. Vadnais to the dog's jaw. All results indicate that the dog shot on the scene is the one who attacked Mrs. Vadnais.

The investigation establishes that the cause of death of Mrs. Vadnais is the attack by the dog shot at the scene.
A relative said that she had spoken with Ms. Vadnais on the telephone at approximately 2:30 pm on June 8, 2016. At that moment, Mrs. Vadnais is at work. She left work at about 3 pm and arrived at home by 4 pm. According to this person, Ms. Vadnais does not usually go outside to remove the waste; she does not smoke outside.
Another neighbor of Mrs. Vadnais (not the one who called 9-1-1) said that, around 3:30 pm, she heard someone say in a neutral tone "using, using" followed by a woman's voice saying "Shhh, shhh". Subsequently, she heard grunts, but did not make any connection.
It is likely that Ms. Vadnais arrives home between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm. It is possible she went in the backyard, maybe to take out the trash, and is attacked by the dog. It is impossible, from the information gathered, to say how long the attack lasts. However, he said it is likely that at the time the police arrived at 5.40 pm, Mrs. Vadnais was already deceased.
During the attack, Mrs. Vadnais lost a considerable amount of blood, leading to a hypovolemic shock and ultimately cardiac arrest and death. However, it is possible that Mrs. Vadnais' heart disease contributed to the speed of her death.
The investigation by the police officers on the same evening shows that the dog belongs to the neighbor staying behind the scene. When the police arrive at the address in question, there is nothing to report in front of the house: the main door and the two doors of the garage are closed, and no individuals are present on the premises. There is a wooden fence the turn of the ground as well as a cabana. Behind it, the wooden fence is damaged and there's a big hole. An old iron gallery ramp was placed against the fence of wood, possibly to block the opening. This iron fence has been moved to allow access to the fence hole and Mrs Vadnais' residence. Plastic bottles chewed as well as dog feces are on the grass. To the south, on the garage, there is a small metal dog cage whose door is open; which served as door is only a metal panel. A policeman notices that a door behind the home is not well closed; there is a lock, but the latch is unlocked.
Through this door, the policemen enter the dwelling. Once inside, a few steps lead to the basement of the house, where there is a small kitchen. On the ground find pieces of garbage scattered, visibly caused by a dog. The kitchen gives directly in a living room with a television and a sofa. At the back of the show, a door gives access to a room. In the latter, ground cover seems to have been eaten by a dog. There is also a large bowl filled with dog food. The policemen then ascend to the ground floor and complete the excavation of the residence. There has nobody and no dog. By looking at various papers on the spot, police officers can understand that several people remain in the residence. The police are waiting outside the arrival of a resident of the place.
Around 7 pm, an individual arrives on foot and enters the yard. The man is arrested. He confirmed that he lives in the residence and that he owns a brown "pitbull". The police men try to explain what happened with his dog, but the man is in a state of shock; he has difficulty paying attention and understanding. Finally, after a few minutes, he seems to understand and agrees to discuss the situation with the police. This one says he lives in the house with his brother and his parents. His brother went to work for the day and her parents are currently traveling outside the country. It's himself who left the residence last this morning. He was reported to have left around 7 am. He said that before he put the muzzle on his dog and closed the doors. He added that he must muzzle to his dog even in the house since he knows that his dog can be aggressive and he does not want to take any chances. He ensures that his dog does not break anything in the House.
However, it confirms that the waste found on the subsoil floor is made by his dog; they are not supposed to be there.
He further states that he took this baby dog ​​and that he is now 7 years old. According to the man, the dog would have been attacked 3 times by other dogs, about 6 years ago.
Since then, the dog does not trust people he does not know. According to him, there are some years; the dog would have torn the coat of an individual who tried to steal.
(According to police report # 46-151026-010, on October 26, 2015, this same dog attacked two friends of the owner while the owner is away from home. One of them has serious injuries to the forearm, maybe even a fracture, and she is transported to the Hospital of Santa Cabrini. The second person is bitten on the thigh, but the wound is minor. According to the police report, the owner is advised that the dog would be monitored by the municipality involved. It appears that the municipality never performed the required follow-up.)
The man mentions that the dog is extremely anxious and agitated in the presence strangers. According to him, the dog is territorial at home. When he sees the neighbors, he is yelping. The man asserts that he immediately enters the dog to calm him down and that little after a while; he can come out again, since he has become peaceful again. He adds that his dog is well fed and is well cared for. He takes regular walks with him and has exercises. On the other hand, he mentions that his dog is often left in the cage outside the house during eight-hour periods. (NB: Several neighbors say they have never seen this dog walk around the neighborhood.)
The man says that a few weeks ago, an estimator came to the scene for a submission for repair of the fence. According to him, he had an agreement with Mrs. Vadnais so that the cost of the repair is paid half and half. He added that he had no problem with Mrs Vadnais. According to him, she was a "nice lady".
The declaration of the owner where he presents himself as someone who takes good care of his dog is contradicted by the information gathered on the premises as well as by his declaration to the police. Among other things, the dog is left alone in the house for long periods of time, pieces of waste are scattered on the ground housing, chewed plastic bottles and dog droppings are on the grass, the dog is often left in its cage outside the house for eight incidents of aggression have occurred previously and neighbors never saw this dog walking with his master in the neighborhood. All these facts suggest that it was a maltreated dog. In fact, it is likely that this dog has been poorly socialized for a long time, left alone frequently during periods prolonged, under-stimulated, lacking canine companions and Exercise. These factors have probably produced an extremely frustrated, aggressive and violent.
As for the breed of the dog involved in the attack, even experts cannot and often do not agree on the specific breed of a dog. Despite the results of the analysis dog's DNA, we are unable, from the photos of the dog provided, to identify formally this dog as being a "pitbull". In addition, it should be noted that initially, dog was registered with the City of Anjou in 2011, the owner registered it as a "Boxer".
In summary, it seems that a tragic combination of events led Ms. Vadnais to simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Among other things, an absence the owner of the dog, a dog already known to be very aggressive, wearing a muzzle the house door that is not properly closed, a hole in the fence and a hour of the day when no neighbor is around to lend him assistance. One may wonder if this attack could have been avoided if, by 2015, the municipality involved had follow-up and take appropriate actions.

This attack was the object of abundant media coverage. At the same time, the public and politicians have called for legislative action to be taken to prevent future attacks. It is expected that the coroner will take into account recommendations in this area. Prior to addressing the recommendations, the public should be made aware of the scope of the so that it can be informed participants in any legislative discussion. Examination of the scientific literature demonstrates the following facts regarding bites of dogs and attacks:
1) About 50% of dog bite cases occur in children.
2) Non sterilized male dogs are involved in approximately 75% of the bites of dog reported.
3) Deaths due to bites or attacks of dogs, while disturbing the public, are also extremely rare. Across Canada, there are usually one to two human deaths per year due to bites or dog attacks, while in the United States the number is ten to twenty deaths per year. In Quebec, there were five human deaths due to dog bites since 1995.
4) Although deadly dog ​​bites are rare, non-dog bites mortalities are not and are a real public health problem. With estimates in the United States of approximately 4.5 million dog bites per year. Approximately 350,000 people a year in the United States seek medical a hospital because of a dog bite.
 5) The tendency of a dog to bite or show aggressive behavior depends much more of its genetics than race. Other factors such as experience, socialization and training, dog health, reproductive status, behavior of the victim and the specific context, also play a key role.
6) All dogs can bite. Dogs of all breeds can be dangerous.
 7) It is demonstrated that the visual identification of dogs, even by professionals’ skilled animal care, is unreliable.
(8) Although different types of animal control laws have been adopted in many jurisdictions, the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the incidence of dog bite or the severity of the dog bite is not well established.

There are historically at least two legislative approaches to reduce the occurrence of bites by dogs. An approach is "the prohibition of specific breed" ("Breed specific ban "or" BSL "), where certain types or breeds of dogs are prohibited. The BSL legislation does not base the determination of the dog's dangerousness on a conduct. All dogs of a targeted breed are based solely on membership of that breed. A BSL is generally promulgated as a result of a mediated dog attack. In addition, a BSL is usually proposed by the legislature in response to public protest and fear. Courts such as Aurora (Colorado), Miami-Dade County (Florida), Winnipeg and Ontario have enacted the BSL legislation (Ontario since 2005).
The other legislative approach is "neutral race" and rather ownership ("Responsible Pet Ownership" or "RPO"). This approach more the owner of the dog than the dog itself. Calgary, Alberta is a jurisdiction that has adopted this type of legislation. A review of the literature shows that few facts support the BSL approach. An article published in the Toronto Sun (June 21, 2016) even pointed out that in Ontario, the province does not know if the law is effective because no provincial data is collected in material. In fact, a thorough review of the scientific literature BSL legislation is an ineffective way of fighting dog bites. No peer-reviewed academic or scientific report and supporting the BSL is not found.
 In Quebec, two recent reports containing recommendations (requested after Mrs. Vadnais' deaths) are already filed with the Minister of Public Security. The Quebec Veterinary Medical Association (OMVQ) tabled its report in July 2016. The Working Committee on the Control of Dangerous Dogs ("the Committee") filed its report in August 2016. In the OMVQ report, the following points of interest should be highlighted:
(1) It is imperative to ensure the financial and operational feasibility of and regulations that will be adopted.
2) The Government of Québec, cities and municipalities must have the sufficient financial resources to enforce their regulations and guidelines.
(3) It is clear that the application of the regulations, which are already in place, often represents a serious shortcoming. It must be admitted that this fact unfortunately to a non-negligible part of the bite events (animal left free, faulty fence, dog permanently tied up, events known precedents, etc.). It also helps to increase the level of frustration to the authorities, knowing that the rules exist and that they are neglected.
4) The definition of a dangerous dog could be: a dog attempting to bite or attacking, biting or attacking, who is doing something that could the safety of a person or animal is considered "dangerous" and should be evaluated by an expert. The revision of the literature also makes it possible to recognition that it might be possible to broaden the type of conclusions. We thought, in particular, of definitions of Nuisance "," potentially dangerous dogs "and" vicious dogs ".
(5) Many unfortunate events could have been avoided or mitigated by the knowledge and understanding of the people at the time of the facts, but especially in prevention.
(6) It is of the utmost importance that the Government of Québec and the cities and municipalities ensure that the measures that will be adopted in the management of dangerous dogs take into account all the factors of listed risk. It is necessary to act on the animal, on the owner of the animal and on the environment. We need to educate the public, children and pet owners.
7) It is very important to establish methods for listing all cases of bites, especially those requiring medical attention. It is important that the government and the cities develop the means to collect data on owners and dogs in their territory as well as on incidents and bites. It is also important to develop a mechanism standardized and mandatory reporting of bite cases. The declaration of bites should be mandatory as well as evaluating the dog involved in a trained veterinarian. Creating a dog registry with rigorous case monitoring would be ideal to avoid tragedies.
The report of the OMVQ seems to be well done and its conclusions seem to be supported by the factual information developed in the body of the report. We can only agree with its conclusions.
As far as the Committee is concerned, the following points of interest should be emphasized:
(1) The City of Calgary appeals, within its regulations, for accountability of dog owners, hence the requirement for a license for each dog company. Heavy fines are levied for infringements of Regulation so that they are dissuasive. As a result, approximately 90% of dogs were from 2010, which far surpasses most cities in the world. North America.
(2) In Calgary, revenues from licenses and fines Department of Animal Services and its extensive safety programs canine, awareness and education.
(3) In Calgary, the Regulations provide that dogs may be designated as dangerous behavior based on proven behavior and not on the basis of race or of a designated crossing.
(4) In Calgary, through the gradual introduction of various and education and awareness-raising measures of the population, the number of incidents involving dogs gradually decreased by 78% between 1985 and 2008.
(5) Throughout the work carried out within the Committee's mandate, the difficulty of obtaining complete and reliable information and data was an issue important. Adequate information and scientific data would certainly made it possible to better document the problem and facilitate the choice of the most effective measures to reduce the number of bites.
However, no centralized registration procedure for all dogs or mandatory declaration of dog bites exists in Quebec. The census such data would provide information on the frequency, circumstances and seriousness of incidents and to collect all relevant information in order to better upstream, to target interventions and prevent more.
At the end of the Committee's report, three legislative scenarios are described and their benefits and disadvantages are discussed. The three scenarios are:
1) Prohibition of certain breeds of dogs and establishment of a declaration of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog.
2) Identification of the specific characteristics of dogs deemed dangerous or potentially hazardous substances to be framed, including dogs of “Pitbull ", and the introduction of a dangerous dog reporting procedure or potentially dangerous.
3) Establishment of a dangerous dog reporting procedure or potentially hazardous without specification of race or characteristic special.
For reasons that are not well explained or supported by logic, the Committee suggests the adoption of the second legislative scenario. It is disappointing that the Committee this conclusion with little or no evidence to support it in the body of the report.
As a result of these two reports, Bill 128 was recently sent to the national assembly.
The following points of interest should be emphasized:
1) The bill identifies dogs that are deemed to be potentially hazardous and allows the government to modify the list of dogs identified as such.
(2) The bill gives the government the power to prohibit any dog ​​that is deemed potentially dangerous and prohibits any person from owning, acquiring, to keep or raise a prohibited dog, subject to certain exceptions.
3) (Article 6) the veterinary surgeon shall notify the municipality without delay the fact that a dog inflicted an injury on a person or domestic animal.
4) (Article 17) A dog whose breed, type or cross is referred to in Annex I (see below) is considered potentially hazardous (the Government may amend the Annex
5) (Article 19) The Government may prohibit any dog ​​that is deemed to be potentially dangerous under Article 17.
6) (Section 12) A local municipality that has reasonable grounds to believe that a dog constitutes a risk to public health or public safety may require it to be examination of a veterinary surgeon she chooses so that her condition and dangerousness be evaluated.
I (Article 17)

(1) pitbulls, including American terrier pitbulls, American Staffordshire terriers and the Staffordshire bulls;
(2) the rottweilers;
(3) dogs resulting from the cross between one of the dogs referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2 and another dog;
(4) hybrid dogs resulting from the cross between a dog and a canida other than a dog;

(5) dogs trained for the purpose of protection, guarding, combat or attack.
A careful reading of this proposed legislation demonstrates that much of it raises questions. For example, which dog is "potentially dangerous"? This term is not defined in the Act and, in fact, the definition could be applied arbitrary. In addition, despite the lack of scientific evidence support, the suggestion that certain breeds of dogs are a priori declared "potentially dangerous substances ". Moreover, the law makes it possible to prohibit these dogs while the evidence in the literature show that the prohibition does not contribute to diminishing the amount or severity of dog bites. It is also disappointing that the law proposes mandatory reporting of dog bites, but only to the municipality concerned. This local report will not be useful to the province. A central register is required. Finally, it is of concern that the law does not mention compulsory registration of dogs or programs for public education or bite prevention. In summary, this bill is disappointing for the following reasons:
1) This bill is essentially a "BSL" law.
 (2) The mandatory reporting of dog bites only to the municipality shall be a wasted opportunity. A central register is required.
(3) There is no mention of the need for public education.
(4) Mandatory registration of dogs is not mentioned municipality.
A rigorous reading of the scientific literature and of the two reports recently filed in Quebec leads to the following conclusions:

1) Dog bites are a serious public health problem and, in particular, a problem that affects the health and safety of our children. The majority of Dog bites are preventable.
2) Reducing the incidence of dog bites requires the cooperation of different "partners", including animal control teams, medical and veterinary community, educators, health department’s public, charitable organizations, and local municipal public.
3) Every bill should emphasize the responsibility of the owner of the animal the prevention of dog bites and encourage the public to work with (and not to against) animal control teams that enforce the law.
 4) Any bill should not prompt any type of "BSL", since the "BSL" unnecessary costs and has never proved to be effective in the prevention of dog bites or attacks.
5) Every bill must encourage intensive and continuous public education compulsory, centralized and standardized reporting of bites dog.

CONCLUSION The death of Mrs. Christiane Vadnais is due to an attack by a dog that caused a trauma that resulted in significant arterial hemorrhage, shock hypovolemic. This is a violent death.

RECOMMENDATIONS I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to centralize reports of injuries inflicted by a dog in a Quebec registry whose data would be accessible for research and prevention. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions requiring the annual registration of all dogs with their municipality and to provide means to pay for the data reflecting these recordings in the Quebec register of dog bites in order to maximize usefulness for research and prevention purposes.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to encourage the sterilization of dogs, irrespective of race.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate Bill 128 provisions to encourage municipalities to form animal control teams, in particular with the aim of raising public awareness of dog safety and better comply with applicable laws and regulations.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate into Bill 128 of the provisions to establish objective and fair means of declaring a dog or (or a combination of both) as "dangerous",
Potentially hazardous "or" harmful ", as discussed in the OMVQ report and the development of enforcement measures against these dogs or their owners.
I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety take the necessary steps to that the adoption of any law for the supervision of dangerous dogs should be accompanied through the development of programs to raise public awareness of dog safety and prevention of dog bites.
I, the undersigned coroner, acknowledge that the date indicated, and the places, causes, circumstances described above have been established to the best of my knowledge, in pursuance of my inquiry, in witness whereof I have signed this deed, at Montreal this 28th day of September 2017.
Dr. Ethan Lichtblau, coroner