The City of Pitt Meadows has denied all claims against them in a civil suit filed by the family of a woman whose body was discovered in a blueberry field in 2021.
Most specifically the city is refuting the family’s allegations that Ping (Amy) Guo died as a result of being attacked by a domestic dog.
The response was filed on Monday, Jan. 9, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to allegations made by Jun Peng, Guo’s husband, and her daughter Kelsey Peng, after they filed the lawsuit in February last year.
The family alleges that Guo, whose body was discovered in a blueberry field at Doremi Blueberry Farm Ltd., was invited to the farm to pick blueberries at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2021. She was found dead later that same day, and the lawsuit alleges she had been killed by an animal, “probably a dog.”
They are claiming the death of Guo was due to negligence of each of the defendants listed in the case: Doremi Blueberry Farm Ltd.; the registered owners of the blueberry farm Kae-Chang Doong and Changling Zhong; the City of Pitt Meadows; and Jane and/or John Doe, the owners of one or more “aggressive, vicious, and dangerous” dog or dogs.
In its response, the City of Pitt Meadows denied the incident as described in the initial notice of civil claim occurred as the family alleges, or at all. The city also denied it owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiffs in the case.
The city maintained it followed any applicable policy in a “prudent manner,” and denied any accusations of negligence, specifically in failing to enforce Dog Control Bylaw No. 2732, 2016, and the allegation that they knew or should have known about an aggressive or vicious dog, or dogs, in the vicinity of the farm.
In fact, the city even denied the existence of bylaw 2732, 2016 with respect to dog control.
The response went on to say that the city also denied, “that the Plaintiffs have sustained loss, damage or expense as alleged or at all.”
The city responded further that if the plaintiffs experienced loss, damage, or expense that it was not “caused or contributed to by any act or omission constituting negligence or breach of duty,” on the part of the City of Pitt Meadows, but instead caused by “the acts, omissions, negligence or breach of duty or failure to mitigate on the part of Ms. Guo, the plaintiffs, the other defendants named in this action,” and other parties not named.
The city claimed Guo failed to keep an adequate lookout, failed to pay sufficient attention to her surroundings, failed to proceed in a careful and prudent manner, failed to take appropriate precautions, and did not reasonable steps to prevent accident and injury.
In addition, the city said at no time did they receive a report of a dangerous or aggressive dog, “that had the effect of engaging any dog control bylaw that was in effect,” and at no time did a bylaw enforcement officer in the city, “make a determination based on direct observation, dog behaviour or any report that engaged the aggressive dog provisions of any applicable dog control bylaw.”
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