An investigation report by the Montreal Police Department indicates that on June 8, 2016, at about 4:48 pm, a neighbor sees a movement behind the fence in the backyard of his dwelling. After a few seconds, he realizes that a dog devours a woman's leg. The neighbor immediately dialed 9-1-1. At 5:04 pm, the police responded to a call about the body of an inanimate woman being eaten by a dog in her neighbor's back yard. The other policemen arrived at the scene at 5:10 pm They saw a brown and white "pitbull" dog. The dog wears a harness and a muzzle hangs on his neck. A policeman enters the yard by forcing the door. He noticed that there were shreds of bloodied clothes. He sees the dog hammering over something that is hidden by the bush. When he enters, the dog looks at him and rushes towards him, his mouth open. The agent finds that there are residues of pieces of flesh on the edge of his mouth, that he shows the teeth, that he is agitated and that he does not listen to the orders given. The agent gives a blow with the dog bar in the mouth. The dog retreats and barks aggressively. The policeman leaves the court. Page 3 of 12 Next, the police enter the neighbor's house (the man who called 9-1-1) to get a better view from his yard. On the spot, they see the body of a woman about 50 years of age completely naked and inanimate, lying on the grass. Major injuries are visible on the legs. There is no sign of breathing and her skin complexion is very pale. The dog turns around the body and rushes on the fence exposing its teeth. The front door of the attacked woman's home is cleared. The police come in and see that everything is in place. There does not seem to be any conflict. The patio door is ajar with the mosquito net closed. Again, a policeman tries with the dog bar to seize the animal, without success. An officer eventually positions himself on the fence that separates the two fields and targets the dog with his gun. He asks his sergeant for permission to fire since there is no one around. The sergeant authorizes the intervention. The policeman shoots and reaches the animal. Once the dog is under control, the officers enter the yard and establish a safe corridor. At 5:32 pm, Health Emergencies arrived. It is noted that the woman (identified as Mrs. Vadnais) has no pulse, does not breathe and does not respond to stimulation; she is in asystole on the monitor. It is remarked that Mrs. Vadnais presents large open wounds on her left arm and both legs. Reanimation maneuvers have begun but the doctor notices the death at 6:12 pm Investigation by the police shows that the event would probably have started very close to the patio at the bottom of the steps. A large amount of blood is on the tiles and droplets are visible on the fence to the north and on the steps. Tips of human flesh lie on the floor everywhere and pieces of torn clothes are on the ground. There is blood that goes to Mrs. Vadnais's body, as if she had been dragged. Shoes and clothing are located near the patio.
EXTERNAL EXAMINATION, AUTOPSY AND TOXICOLOGICAL ANALYZES
An autopsy is made on June 9, 2016 at the Laboratory of Forensic Sciences and Medicine(LSJML) in Montreal. The pathologist finds moderate cadaveric stiffness. Livestock identified on the posterior surfaces of the body. In the upper left limb and the lower limbs there are many erosions and major lacerations, some of which are gaping and deep. Many erosions and lacerations correspond to the dentition of a dog. The upper limb left, from the mid-arm to the wrist, is completely lacerated to the bone, the muscles are most absent, and there is complete transection of the veins and brachial arteries. The lower left limb, there is a transection of the artery and the tibial vein posterior, as well as a fracture of the fibula. Most injuries to both limbs lower are haemorrhagic.
For the remainder of the autopsy, there are no intracerebral lesions or intracranial. There is a focal coronary artery atherosclerosis with stenosis of 75%, 60-70% and 60-70% in the anterior interventricular arteries origin), circumflex and right coronary. There are no cardiac abnormalities congenital or abnormal heart valves, aorta or inferior vena cava.
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 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 in Saint-Hyacinthe. The dog is a male weighing 33.8 kg, died from lesions caused by firearm projectiles. The result of a rabies screening test is negative. The DNA of the animal involved in the attack is submitted for analysis to the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel DNA test (Vancouver, WA, USA). The result shows that this dog is 87.5% of the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. (NB: "Wisdom Panel® is not intended to be used by animal control or regulatory officials to determine if a particular breed is prohibited in any particular country or province. it is intended to be used as a tool or resource in 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 Mrs. Vadnais blood are sent for analysis to the biology / DNA section of the LSJML. Expertise is also requested from the judicial odontologist to compare the marks of bites on Mrs. Vadnais' body to the dog's jaw. All the 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 on the spot. A relative said that she had spoken with Ms. Vadnais on the telephone at about 2:30 pm on June 8, 2016. At that time, Ms. Vadnais was at work. She left work at about 3 pm and arrived home about 4 pm. According to this person, Mrs. Vadnais usually goes outside only to remove the waste; she does not smoke outside. Another neighbor of Ms. Vadnais (not the one who called 9-1-1) said that at around 3:30 pm she heard someone say in a neutral tone "to help, to help" followed in 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. She goes into the backyard, maybe to get out the garbage, and is attacked by the dog. It is impossible, from the information gathered, to say how long the attack lasts. However, it is probable that at the time the police arrived, at 5:04 pm, Mrs. Vadnais was already deceased. During the attack, Mrs. Vadnais lost a considerable amount of blood, leading to hypovolemic shock and eventually cardiac arrest and death. However, it is possible that Ms. Vadnais' heart disease contributed to the speed of her death. The investigation by the police officers on the same evening demonstrates that the dog belongs to the neighbor who lives 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 one is present. There is a wooden fence around the property and a shed. Behind this one, the wooden fence is damaged and there is a big hole. An old iron railing ramp was placed against the wooden fence, possibly to block the opening. This iron fence was moved to the fence and to the residence of Mrs. Vadnais. Chewed plastic bottles and dog droppings are on the grass. To the south, at the edge of the garage, there is a small metal cage with a door open; what used to be a door is only a metal panel. A policeman notices that a door behind the house 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 are pieces of garbage scattered, visibly caused by a dog. The kitchen opens directly into a living room with a TV and a sofa. At the back of the living room, a door gives access to a bedroom. In it, a ground cover seems to have been eaten by a dog. There is also a large bowl filled with dog food. The policemen then went up to the ground floor and completed the excavation at the residence. There is nobody and no dog. By looking at various papers on the spot, the police can understand that several people remain in the residence. The police await 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 confirms that he lives in the residence and that he owns a brown "pitbull". The police 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. He says that he lives in the house with his brother and his parents. His brother left to work for the day and his parents are currently traveling outside the country. It was the same man who left the residence last morning. He was reported to have left around 7 am. He says that before he left, he put the muzzle on his dog and closed the doors. He adds that he puts a 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, he confirms that the waste found on the floor of the basement 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's version, the dog was 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, a few years ago, the dog would have torn the coat of an individual who tried to steal it. Page 6 of 12 (According to police report # 46-151026-010, October 26, 2015, this same dog attacks two friends of the owner while the owner is away from the house. One of them has significant injuries in the forearm, maybe even a fracture, and she is transported to the Santa Cabrini Hospital, the second person is bitten on the thigh, but the wound is minor, according to the police report, the owner is advised that the file would be followed up by the municipality involved. It seems that the municipality never did the required follow-up.) The man mentions that the dog is extremely anxious and agitated in the presence of strangers. According to him, the dog is territorial at home. When he sees the neighbors, he begins to bark. The man asserts that he immediately enters the dog to calm him down and that, soon after, he can come out again as he has become peaceful again. He adds that his dog is well fed and he takes care of it. He takes walks regularly with him and makes him do exercises. On the other hand, he mentions that his dog is often left in the cage outside the house for eight hours. (NB: Several neighbors say they have never seen this dog walk around the neighborhood.)
The man claims that a few weeks ago, an estimator came to the scene for a bid for the repair of the fence. According to him, he had an agreement with Mrs. Vadnais so that the expenses of the repair were paid half and half. He added that he had no problem with Mrs. Vadnais. According to him, she was a "nice lady". The statement 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 own statement 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 floor of the dwelling, chewed plastic bottles and dog droppings are on the grass, the dog is often left in his cage outside the house for eight hours, incidents of aggression have occurred previously and neighbors say they have never seen 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 for prolonged periods, under-stimulated, lacking canine companions and lack of exercise. These factors probably produced an extremely frustrated, aggressive and violent dog. As for the dog breed involved in the attack, even experts often can not agree on the specific breed of a dog. Despite the results of DNA analysis of the dog, it is impossible, from the photos of the dog provided, to formally identify this dog as a "pitbull". In addition, it is noted that originally, when the 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 be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Among other things, there was a prolonged absence from the owner of the dog, a dog already known to be very aggressive, wearing a badly tied muzzle, the door of the dwelling not well closed, a hole in the fence and one hour of the day where no neighbor 'is around to lend him assistance. It is questionable whether this attack could have been avoided if, by 2015, the municipality involved had carried out the required follow-up and taken appropriate measures. Page 7 of 12 This attack has been the object of an abundant media coverage. At the same time, the public and politicians have called for legislative action to prevent future attacks. It is expected that the coroner will take into account the recommendations in this area. Even before addressing the recommendations, the public should be made aware of the scope of the problem so that it can be informed participants in any legislative discussion. Examination of the scientific literature demonstrates the following facts regarding dog bites and attacks:
- About 50% of dog bite cases occur in children. 2) Unsterilized male dogs are involved in about 75% of the dog bites reported. 3) Deaths due to bites or dog attacks, 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 have been five human deaths due to dog bites since 1995. 4) Although fatal dog bites are rare, non-lethal dog bites are not and are a real public health problem with estimates in the US of about 4.5 million dog bites per year. Approximately 350,000 people a year in the United States see a doctor in a hospital because of a dog bite. 5) A dog's tendency to bite or show aggressive behavior depends much more on its genetics or race. Other factors such as experience, socialization and training, dog health, reproductive status, victim behavior 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 skilled animal care professionals, 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 dog bite, is not well established.
There are historically at least two legislative approaches to reduce the occurrence of dog bites. One approach is "Breed specific ban" (BSB), where certain types or breeds of dogs are prohibited. The BSB legislation does not base the determination of the dangerousness of the dog on a previous conduct. All dogs of a targeted breed are subject to regulation based solely on membership of that breed. A BSB is generally promulgated as a result of a mediated dog attack. In addition, a BSB 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 BSB legislation (Ontario since 2005). The other legislative approach is "neutral race" and is rather a "Responsible Pet Ownership" (RPO). This approach is aimed more at 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 BSB approach. An article in the Toronto Sun (June 21, 2016) even noted that in Ontario the province does not know if the legislation is effective because no provincial data are collected. In fact, a thorough review of the scientific literature demonstrates that BSB legislation is an ineffective way to fight dog bites. No peer-reviewed academic or scientific reports supporting the BSB are found. In Quebec, two recent reports containing recommendations (requested after the death of Mrs. Vadnais) have already been filed with the Minister of Public Security. The Quebec Veterinary Medical Association (OMVQ) tabled its report in July 2016. The Working Committee on the Management of Dangerous Dogs ("the Committee") tabled 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 the measures and regulations that will be adopted. 2) The Government of Quebec, cities and municipalities must have sufficient financial resources to enforce their regulations and directives. (3) It is clear that the application of the regulations, which are already in place, is often a serious shortcoming. It must be admitted that this state of affairs unfortunately contributes to a not insignificant part of the events of bites (free-range animal, defective fence, permanently attached dog, previous events known, etc.). It also contributes to increasing the level of frustration with the authorities, knowing that the rules exist and that they are neglected. (4) The definition of a dangerous dog could be: a dog who tries to bite or attack, bites or attacks, and who commits a gesture that could harm the safety of a person or animal is considered " dangerous "and should be evaluated by an expert. The review of the literature also makes it possible to recognize that it might be possible to broaden the type of definition according to the conclusions to be drawn. We thought of the definitions of "nuisance", "potentially dangerous dogs" and "vicious dogs". (5) Many unfortunate events could have been avoided or mitigated by better knowledge and understanding on the part of persons at the time of the events, but especially in prevention. 6) It is of the utmost importance that the Government of Québec and the various cities and municipalities ensure that the measures adopted in the area of supervision of dangerous dogs take into account all the risk factors listed. 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 animal owners. 7) It is very important to develop methods for listing all cases of bites, particularly 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 incidents and bites. It is also important to develop a standardized and mandatory reporting mechanism for bite cases. The declaration of bites should be mandatory as well as the evaluation of the dog involved by a veterinarian trained in behavior. Creating a register of bite dogs with rigorous case tracking would be ideal to avoid tragic situations.
The OMVQ report appears to be well done and its conclusions seem to be supported by the factual information developed in the body of the report. One can only agree with his conclusions. With respect to the Committee, the following points of interest should be highlighted: (1) The City of Calgary appeals, within its by-laws, to the ownership of dog owners, a license for each pet dog. Heavy fines are levied for breaches of these regulations to be dissuasive. As a result, about 90% of dogs were registered from 2010, which far surpasses most cities in North America. 2) In Calgary, revenues from licenses and fines fund the Animal Services Department and its extensive dog safety, awareness and education programs. (3) In Calgary, the regulations provide that dogs may be designated as dangerous on the basis of proven behavior and not on the basis of their breed or designated cross. (4) In Calgary, with the gradual introduction of various control measures for dogs and education and public awareness measures, the number of incidents involving dogs gradually decreased by 78% between 1985 and 2008. (5) Throughout the Committee's work, the difficulty in obtaining complete and reliable information and data was an important issue. Adequate information and scientific data would certainly have made it possible to document the problem more effectively and to facilitate the choice of the most effective measures to reduce the number of bites. However, there is no centralized registration procedure for all dogs or mandatory reporting of dog bites in Quebec. Identifying such data would help to identify the frequency, circumstances and severity of incidents and to collect all relevant information in order to better act upstream, target interventions and prevent further.
At the end of the Committee's report, three legislative scenarios are described and their respective advantages and disadvantages are outlined. The three scenarios are as follows: 1) Prohibition of certain breeds of dog and introduction of a procedure of declaration of dangerous or potentially dangerous dog. 2) Identification of the specific characteristics of the dogs deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous, which should be supervised, including pitbull dogs, and a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog reporting procedure. 3) Establishment of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog declaration procedure without specification of race or particular characteristic. 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 reaches this conclusion with little or no supporting evidence in the body of the report. As a result of these two reports, Bill No. 128 was recently proposed to the National Assembly.
The following points of interest should be emphasized: 1) The bill identifies dogs that are deemed potentially dangerous 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, keeping or breeding a prohibited dog subject to certain exceptions. 3) (Article 6) The veterinary surgeon shall immediately inform the local municipality concerned of the fact that a dog has inflicted an injury on a person or a domestic animal. 4) (Article 17) A dog whose breed, type or cross is referred to in Annex I (see below) is considered potentially dangerous (the Government may amend Annex I). (Article 19) The Government may prohibit any dog that is deemed to be potentially dangerous under section 17. (6) (Section 12) A local municipality that has reasonable grounds to believe that a dog is a risk to the dog health or public safety may require it to be examined by a veterinary surgeon it chooses so that its condition and dangerousness are assessed.
APPENDIX I (Article 17) POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOGS
(1) Pitbulls, including American Terrier Pitbulls, Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers; (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, indeed, the definition could be applied very arbitrarily. Moreover, despite the lack of scientific evidence support, the law proposes that certain breeds of dogs are a priori declared "potentially dangerous". The law also prohibits these dogs, even though the evidence in the literature demonstrates that the prohibition does not reduce the quantity 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, there is concern that the Act does not mention mandatory dog registration or public education or bite prevention programs.
In summary, this bill is disappointing for the following reasons: 1) This bill is essentially a "BSB" law. 2) Mandatory reporting of dog bites only to the municipality is 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 in their municipality.
A rigorous reading of the scientific literature and the two reports recently tabled in Quebec leads to the following conclusions: 1) Dog bites are a serious public health problem and particularly 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 various "partners", including animal control teams, the medical and veterinary community, educators, public health departments, charities, local municipal authorities and the public. 3) Every bill should emphasize the responsibility of the owner of the animal for the prevention of dog bites and encourage the public to work with (and not against) animal control teams that enforce the law. 4) Any bill should not incite any type of "BSB", since the "BSB" entails unnecessary costs and has never proved to be effective in preventing dog bites or attacks. (5) Every bill should encourage intensive and continuous public education and compulsory, centralized and standardized reporting of dog bites. CONCLUSION The death of Mrs. Christiane Vadnais is due to an attack by a dog that caused trauma leading to major arterial haemorrhage, hypovolemic shock. This is a violent death.
I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate provisions in Bill 128 to centralize reports of injuries inflicted by a dog in a Quebec registry whose data would be accessible for research and prevention purposes. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate provisions in Bill 128 to require the annual registration of all dogs with their respective municipalities and to provide for the payment of the data reflecting these records in the register dog bites in order to maximize their usefulness for research and prevention purposes. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety include in Bill 128 provisions to encourage the sterilization of dogs, regardless of race. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate provisions in Bill 128 to encourage municipalities to form animal control teams, particularly to raise public awareness of dog safety and to improve compliance laws and regulations. I recommend that the Department of Public Safety incorporate provisions in Bill 128 to establish objective and equitable means of reporting a dog or a dog owner (or a combination of both) as " dangerous "," potentially hazardous "or" harmful ", as discussed in the OMVQ report, and the development of enforceable measures against these dogs or their owners. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety take the necessary steps to ensure that the adoption of any legislation to regulate dangerous dogs is accompanied by the development of programs to raise public awareness of dog safety and the prevention of bites dog.
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, continuation of my investigation, in faith of which I have signed, in Montreal, this 28th of September 2017.