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Lawyer: City has no right to kill dogs

Family's lawyer said City of Richmond bylaw officer's claims are just that, claims
The fate of Axle and Paris rests with a judge.

Despite learning of allegations that impounded Richmond rottweilers Axle and Paris had a history of incidents, animal rights activist Carolyn Quirt still believes the dogs should be spared their lives.

Furthermore, the lawyer defending the dogs and their owners says a bylaw officer's version of events is contrary to his client's and the city has no grounds to execute the animals.

The bylaw officer's version was filed at Richmond Provincial Court in an application to have the dogs - owned by Prabjot and Raj Nijjer - "destroyed."

"After reading what I have read. Not cool," said Quirt, who led a protest at Richmond City Hall Monday as an attempt to change the city's stance.

"None of this stuff is good, it's all bad behaviour. But I still feel this isn't cause for destruction. What this is, is a cause for rehabilitation, more training for the dogs and more training for the owners."

The decision to execute the dogs came after an Oct. 25, 2013 incident when a construction worker, Dustin Wang, was bitten by one of the dogs and received medical attention at a walk-in-clinic, according to the affidavit.

Quirt knew about that incident but did not know about the details of a prior biting incident on Sep. 20, 2010 when one of the dogs bit a Dachshund, causing a puncture wound, according to the affidavit.

In that incident, the dogs were also alleged to have "chased and jumped on children, scaring some and causing others to cry" at Henry Anderson elementary school, next to the Nijjer's home.

Following the incident, the city claims it notified the Nijjers that their dogs were classified as "dangerous," as per a bylaw.

Another claim by the bylaw officer is that on April 5, 2012, two other bylaw officers witnessed the dogs "growling, barking and lunging towards a chain link fence" between the house and school. The Nijjers were cited for not keeping their dogs in an "enclosure."

Raj Nijjer told the News that the bylaw officer's version of events is untrue.

"They never scared the children. The kids were playing with the dogs and the teacher called them inside. The teacher just thought the dogs might bite the children," he said.

He also said he didn't know about the dog's classification and that there was no communication with his son, who generally takes care of the dogs and may have known.

The Nijjer's lawyer, Joe Peschisolido, said, regardless of the classification, the city has no grounds to execute the dogs.

"We don't know exactly what happened because what's in this document is only the version of the bylaw officer," he said.

"If you look at the documents, there is no serious incident," he added.

The case goes to court in April. Meanwhile, the dogs are being kept at the city pound.