Donahue v. Belitski, (2015) 469 Sask.R. 156 (QB)

Judge:Chicoine, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan
Case Date:February 12, 2015
Citations:(2015), 469 Sask.R. 156 (QB);2015 SKQB 47

Donahue v. Belitski (2015), 469 Sask.R. 156 (QB)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2015] Sask.R. TBEd. MR.025

Richard Murray Donahue (plaintiff) v. Carl Joseph Belitski (defendant)

(2009 QB No. 273; 2015 SKQB 47)

Indexed As: Donahue v. Belitski

Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial Centre of Yorkton

Chicoine, J.

February 12, 2015.


Donahue sued Belitski for damages for injuries which he suffered in a dog attack on Belitski's property.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench held that Belitski was strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter and in negligence for the injuries to Donahue. The court granted Donahue judgment against Belitski in the sum of $324,347.11, plus pre-judgment interest on the award of non-pecuniary damages and the pre-trial loss of earnings calculated in accordance with the Pre-judgment Interest Act, plus taxable costs.

Damage Awards - Topic 650

Torts - Injury to the person - Dog bite and other injuries caused by animals - Donahue was attacked by a pack of five or six dogs on Belitski's property - He had about 30 stitches on his left arm and another 49 on his legs and feet - He was in the hospital for a total of 16 days - He had to undergo plastic surgery on his right leg and foot, which included skin grafting - He was off work for 10 months - He still had limited feeling in his right foot - The foot was also higher and wider than his left foot - Donahue's mental condition was also affected by the dog attack - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench held that Belitski was strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter and in negligence for the injuries to Donahue - During the trial, Belitski's counsel stated that he would accede that non-pecuniary damages would be $150,000 - The court agreed with that quantum of the non-pecuniary damages - Donahue's injuries were severe both physically and psychologically and would affect him the rest of his life - See paragraph 82.

Torts - Topic 251

Negligence - Animals - Duty of possessor of domestic animals - [See Torts - Topic 3575 ].

Torts - Topic 256

Negligence - Animals - Foreseeability - [See Torts - Topic 3575 ].

Torts - Topic 264

Negligence - Animals - Dangerous - Knowledge of - Liability of owner - [See Torts - Topic 3575 ].

Torts - Topic 2106

Strict liability - Dangerous things or activities - Keeping animals - General - [See Torts - Topic 3575 ].

Torts - Topic 3575

Occupiers' liability or negligence for dangerous premises - Negligence of occupier - Animals - Belitski ran an auto wrecker business on his farmstead - Donahue attended at Belitski's business to look for rims for a Mustang - He had been there on prior occasions and he knew that Belitski had 15 to 20 dogs on his farmstead - Donahue met Belitski just off the main road into his yard - Donahue told Belitski what he was looking for - Belitski told him to go ahead and look - If he found what he needed, he was to come back to see Belitski who would take them off the car - Belitski told Donahue that he had some Mustangs in the north part of his yard and he pointed in the general direction - Donahue drove into the yard - When he got out of his truck to have a look at the wheels on a Mustang, he was attacked by five or six dogs - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench found Belitski strictly liable for the damages to Donahue under the doctrine of scienter, both in its common law and statutorily modified version - The court also found that Belitski was liable in negligence for Donahue's injuries - These dogs had bitten other people - The issue of "foreseeable risk of harm" had been brought to Belitski's attention prior to the attack on Donahue - Belitski breached the duty of care that he owed to Donahue by not acting reasonably in relation to maintaining control of the dogs that he was using to guard his premises - Donahue was not contributorily negligent - Belitski's counsel had contended that Donahue's failure to heed the warnings about the dogs on the "No Trespassing" sign at the entrance to the salvage yard showed that he was careless in looking after his own safety - However, there was no evidence that Donahue had seen or read the "No Trespassing" sign - Donahue was not trespassing as he entered the salvage yard with Belitski's consent - See paragraphs 56 to 78.

Torts - Topic 6611

Defences - Contributory negligence - Particular cases - Knowledge of premises or dangerous premises - [See Torts - Topic 3575 ].

Cases Noticed:

Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis et al. (1997), 96 B.C.A.C. 70; 155 W.A.C. 70 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 57].

Ross v. Vidnes et al. (2012), 402 Sask.R. 291; 2012 SKQB 317, refd to. [para. 61].

Styranko v Ruff and Ruff, [1938] 3 W.W.R. 617 (Sask. C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

Gallant v. Slootweg, [2014] B.C.T.C. Uned. 1579; 2014 BCSC 1579, refd to. [para. 70].

Indermaur v. Dames (1866), LR 1 CP 274, affd. (1867), LR 2 CP 311 (Ex. Ch.), refd to. [para. 71].

Statutes Noticed:

Municipalities Act, S.S. 2005, c. M-36.1, sect. 380 [para. 58].


Ronald J. Balacko, Q.C., for the plaintiff;

Niel J. Halford, for the defendant.

This action was heard before Chicoine, J., of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial Centre of Yorkton, who delivered the following judgment on February 12, 2015.

To continue reading