Woman fined $10,400 for keeping Tequila, a pit bull terrier prohibited by Coquitlam strata pet bylaw

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      Ewelina Bednarek no longer lives at the Coquitlam condo she bought in 2018.

      Neither does her pet dog Tequila, a pit bull terrier mix.

      Bednarek sold the condo earlier this year, but she has some unfinished business to settle.

      The woman still has to pay at least $10,400 in arrears for fines imposed by the strata.

      The fines mostly have to do with Tequila.

      The strata imposed penalties on the woman for violating bylaws regarding pets and noise.

      As a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal relates, the strata does not allow a dog that was rescued, has an unknown history, and belongs to breeds that include pit bulls, pit bull terriers or any mix between the two.

      Also, a dog must not exceed 15 kilograms in weight when fully grown or at age of 12 months or older.

      On these counts, Tequila failed.

      “Although Ms. Bednarek submits that Tequila may not be a pit bull terrier mix, I find that she is, based on Ms. Bednarek’s own evidence at a strata council hearing,” CRT member Julie K. Gibson wrote in reasons for decision in favour of the strata.

      Gibson recalled that Bednarek wrote the strata on November 25, 2019 and requested permission for the then five-month-old Tequila to live at her condo unit.

      “Based on photographs that Ms. Bednarek provided to the strata, which show the size of a similar dog at maturity, I find Tequila was likely to exceed 15 kg in weight once full grown,” Gibson noted.

      The strata refused Bednarek’s request because of Tequila’s breed, her anticipated full weight at maturity, and because she had a rescue background.

      The strata asked the woman to find a new home for her pet dog.

      Bednarek didn’t give up on Tequila.

      Gibson related that in August 2020, the woman provided the strata with a “Letter of Registration” from the “ADA Registry Canada”, which suggested that Tequila “might be a service dog”.

      That was supposed to be a game changer because the Strata Property Act exempts guide or service dogs from pet bylaw prohibitions.

      However, Gibson noted that the letter provided by Bednarek was not the proper certification required under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act.

      “Therefore, I find Tequila is not a service or guide dog for the purpose of the GDSDA,” Gibson wrote.

      Tequila was also implicated in several noise complaints, which prompted the strata to fine Bednarek.

      Gibson stated that the letters of complaint support the conclusion that occupants at the woman’s condo unit were “causing unreasonable noise”.

      “They describe noise at all times of day and night, at volumes disrupting the daily lives of other strata residents,” the tribunal member wrote.

      Specifically, “The noises include something being dragged on the floor, stomping of feet, yelling, loud music, and Tequila running back and forth, barking, growling, whining or dragging her crate.”

      Gibson noted that the strata’s account ledger shows arrears of $10,413.86 as of November 2, 2020, which CRT member ordered the woman to pay.

      In addition, Bednarek has to pay $125.00 in CRT fees, and $32.39 in pre-judgement interest, for a total of $10,571.25.

      Where’s Tequila?

      “On December 12, 2020, Ms. Bednarek emailed the strata to say that Tequila had been sent to stay with her family outside Canada,” Gibson wrote.

      Bednarek and Tequila may have been reunited by now.