An animal advocacy group says there’s some teeth to a lawsuit filed by a Kamloops man over his dead dog.
Burke Nesjan’s two-year-old dog died in his arms on Nov. 14, 2017, after its neck got stuck in a hunting trap next to the Darlington Forest Service Road, north of Kamloops.
In a notice of claim filed on Nov. 7 in Kamloops court, Nesjan says he was driving to work with his dog, a two-year-old purebred Akita named Kuma, and stopped at a pullout 29 kilometers down the forest road to let his dog out.
“After a couple minutes, I noticed that Kuma was not nearby as normal and called him but he did not come back,” Nesjan writes.
“I walked behind my pickup a few meters and noticed Kuma in the ditch making a funny noise. I ran down the side road and found him with a Conibear #330 Trap around his neck. He was still alive and I tried to remove the trap as quick as possible… I could not remove the trap in time as it requires a tool to contract the springs so the clamp around his neck would open.
“Kuma died in my arms after a significant amount of suffering.”
Nesjan is now suing the trap owner for more than $15,000 in damages, according to the notice of claim. Included in that is more than $10,000 for “loss of companionship at work, immense mental suffering and anguish on Nov. 14 and the months after and lost work satisfaction as cannot bring a dog with me anymore.”
Lesley Fox with the non-profit Fur Bearers Association says she believes there’s merit to Nesjan’s claim.
“I think that because no warning signs were posted, I think it brings up issues related to possible negligence,” Fox says.
“To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never seen anyone file a court document seeking damages against a trapper for killing their pet.”
The defendant named, Paul Michel of Summerland, has not filed a response, and the allegations in the claim have not been proven in court.