Claim Alleging “Emotional Injury” After Cat Attacks Dog Dismissed

Today BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal published reasons for judgement dismissing a claim based on alleged emotional injury following a cat attack.

In today’s case (Kvinlaug v. Schuchort) the Applicant alleged that a cat owned by the Respondents attacked her dog.  She argued “that she sustained emotional injury resulting from her dog being attacked“.  The Tribunal dismissed the claim before even getting to a damages analysis on the basis that no liability could be proven under any of the known principles for fault following animal attacks.

In finding that cat attacks are fundamentally different than dog attacks under a negligence analysis Tribunal Member Sherelle Goodwin provided the following reasons:

29.   I now turn to negligence. To succeed in negligence Ms. Kvinlaug must prove that the respondents knew, or ought to have known, that Brummer was likely to create a risk of injury and that the respondents failed to take reasonable care to prevent such an injury (see Xu v. Chen & Yates, 2008 BCPC 0234). As discussed above, there is no evidence that Mr. Schuchort knew, or should have known, that Brummer had a propensity to attack a dog and/or was likely to create a risk of injury. As Mr. Schuchort was unaware of the risk of injury from Brummer, I cannot find that there are actions he should have, or could have, taken to prevent the attack and Ms. Kvinlaug’s injuries.

30.   Even if Mr. Schuchort knew, or should have known, that Brummer had a propensity to attack other animals, I cannot find that there are any further actions he could have, or should have, taken to prevent the incident with Ms. Kvinlaug. Unlike dogs, cats are generally not leashed or otherwise controlled. Brummer was in the house when Ms. Kvinlaug arrived on the property. On balance, I find that Ms. Kvinlaug has failed to prove that Mr. Schuchort was negligent in preventing the incident with Brummer.

Animal Attack, bc injury law, Cat Attack, Kvinlaug v. Schuchort, Scienter, Tribunal Member Sherelle Goodwin


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When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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