The Central Okanagan regional district is defending its 22-month incarceration of Diesel the dog, a German shepherd-cross facing death after being labeled a dangerous animal.
The seven-year-old dog has spent nearly two years in the pound while its case slowly plays out in the courts.
In a statement released Tuesday after lawyers finished debating in B.C. Supreme Court whether animal-control staff have the right to destroy Diesel, the district said it "continues to seek the best efforts to save Diesel's life."
"Throughout this . . . ordeal, the regional district dog pound staff continue to provide professional care and surroundings for Diesel," said spokesman Bruce Smith in a news release.
"This has not been an easy time for anyone,
including Diesel. Although the regional district doesn't normally contain a dog for this length of time, in this circumstance we are bound by law to follow through on our bylaws and court decisions."
An appeal of an August 2012 provincial court decision branding Diesel as dangerous and its owner as irresponsible wrapped up Tuesday.
After hearing two days of arguments, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoff Barrow reserved his decision on whether to overturn the lower court's ruling to allow the district to euthanize the dog. Barrow's verdict is expected within a month.
Smith, a Peachland resident, appealed to the higher court after rejecting the district's offer to let Diesel live if he adopted it out to an anonymous owner outside the Central Okanagan. Smith argued if his dog is secretly relocated, there would be nothing stopping officials from euthanizing it.
Neighbours on and near Wiig Road in Peachland have complained about Diesel since 2006, with some saying the dog injured their pets by jumping on them. One woman testified that Diesel attacked a dog recovering from surgery. Another woman said she was having tea with Smith at his house when Diesel bit her hand.
The regional district said Tuesday there's a message in the dispute: "Owners need to be in control of their dog at all times. Doing that may have avoided prolonged proceedings and the extended stay of Diesel."