Fiancée speaks out after deadly dog attack
Published Monday, August 14, 2017 5:40PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:54PM EDT
A Kitchener woman whose partner was killed in a dog attack says her landlord is now trying to get her to pay for the clean-up bill.
Andrew Kochut died last month at an apartment on Hoffman Street.
According to his fiancée, Sabrina Munroe, it happened shortly after Kochut fell into an epileptic seizure.
Munroe says the dog walked over to Kochut, as it normally did during his seizures.
When Kochut sat up, the dog bit his neck – a behaviour Munroe describes as much more unusual for Kochut’s pet.
Munroe tried to pull the dog off of Kochut. Her son hit the animal with a frying pan, tried to distract it with its favourite toy, and even tried to pry the dog’s mouth open to get him to let go of Kochut. Nothing worked.
“We were just screaming for help. It was awful,” Munroe says.
“The dog was just too strong.”
Kochut was pronounced dead at the scene. The dog was later put down.
On the day of Kochut’s funeral, Munroe received a notice that she was being evicted from the apartment.
In the eviction letter, her landlord claimed it would take several months of work and more than $15,000 to clean up “an enormous loss of blood and bodily fluid” and bring the apartment “into compliance.”
The landlord also said Munroe, who rented the apartment, would have to pay those costs.
“I don’t understand how I’d be responsible for paying for any of the cleanup,” Munroe says.
“It wasn’t our fault. We just had a very horrible thing happen.”
Speaking to CTV News, the landlord said he believed Munroe is responsible for the costs because she brought Kochut and his dog into the apartment.
Shaun Harvey is a Kitchener-based paralegal who specializes in landlord-tenant matters.
While he doesn’t have enough information about the issue to know how things would play out if Munroe brought a claim against her landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board, he says a key issue would be whether the dog had a documented pattern of violent behaviour. (Munroe says it didn’t.)
“I think there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered in terms of who knew what before this happened,” Harvey says.
Under Ontario law, landlords are responsible for cleaning up damage done to their property, unless they are able to prove that a tenant caused the damage either intentionally or through negligence, or failed to act in a reasonable way to prevent damage.
With reporting by Krista Simpson