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B.C. woman wins court ruling two years after her dog was brutally attacked at Sask. off-leash park

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After a two-year legal battle, the owner of a dog who was killed in a vicious attack at a Saskatoon off-leash park two years ago is getting some closure.

Blossom de Bruin was a student in the vet college at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in 2021 when she took her Terrier Jax to the Sutherland dog park. Two large dogs, similar to pit bulls, mauled 12-year-old Jax.

“Almost as soon as we entered the park these two bully breed dogs came running over and attacked him,” de Bruin told CTV News.

One of the dogs grabbed the terrier by the neck and the other grabbed his abdomen and shook him, exposing his insides.

The injuries and internal hemorrhaging were so extensive that Jax died a short time later on an operating table at the veterinary college.

Besides the trauma of seeing her dog attacked in such a violent way, de Bruin incurred significant vet bills.

She claims the owner of the other two dogs didn’t show any concern as the attack was happening, and others around were trying to get the dogs off of Jax, and that she continued the walk with one of the dogs afterwards.

“If she had been, ‘I’m so sorry. I can’t believe this happened,’ then I wouldn’t’ have pursued legal action,” she said.

The alleged lack of remorse or claim of responsibility just compounded the loss of her companion.

“The thing that bothered me the most is that it happened before and she continued to let her dogs at dog parks and put others at risk, and she knew it was bad. She didn’t care and didn’t try to reach out after,” de Bruin said.

According to de Bruin, one of the dogs was euthanized after the incident due to a history of violence — for which she blames the owner, not the dog.

De Bruin, who is now a veterinarian practicing in Ontario, says it took just over two years, but she won the case in small claims court.

She feels that her position as a veterinarian gave her case legitimacy and added weight to the argument that the view of pets has changed significantly over the years — their status is different than farm animals.

“They are not just property but form an emotional bond with humans.”

When de Bruin moved from B.C. to start studying to be a vet at the U of S, she says Jax was her companion, getting her through the loneliness of moving to a new community with unconditional love.

Now, she claims that she is still traumatized by the loss and the way in which Jax was brutally killed. She has difficulty treating dogs like the ones that attacked Jax.

De Bruin says she hasn’t been able to get a dog again because she’s still dealing with the loss.

“I’m still grieving. I can’t imagine having another dog.”

Holding back tears, de Bruin recalls how Jax helped her through emotional times in her life.

“There’s something really special sharing a being that you share your life with whose ultimate happiness is just to be with you,” she said.

She’s using some of the money from the claim for a vet college scholarship at the U of S.

It’s a way to honour her longtime companion and give back to her profession. 

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