Despite protest, dog destruction order upheld

For Wicca, time may be running out.
Photo courtesy of Chris Papakostas

Supporters of Wicca the pitbull are not giving up the fight to save the dog from death row.

A hastily organized rally last night outside borough offices of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension officials saw Wicca’s owner, Chris Papakostas, joined by over 50 animal lovers and their dogs.

The case has also gone viral, drawing online attention from animal lovers around the world.

“I’m not giving up. I still pray there is hope to save my dog,” says Papakostas, who maintains that in the three years he has owned Wicca, she has never been aggressive.

Since June 7, Papakostas has been in a legal battle with the borough, City Hall and the Quebec courts. On that day, Wicca allegedly bit a pedestrian and then an ambulance technician on Jarry Street, an account Papkostas vigorously denies.

A death order was issued by the city. Papakostas and his lawyer, Elaine Rosenberg, fought it, and a stay of execution was granted pending an appeal. On Monday, while awaiting the decision at the Montreal courthouse, Papakostas was forced to surrender his dog to the Berger Blanc animal pound.

A “Save Wicca” Facebook page, which has drawn over 15,000 Likes, and an online petition were launched. Animal lovers have also been flooding City Hall and the Berger Blanc pound with emails and phone calls to protest the dog’s death order.

Yesterday, the court upheld the city’s decision, giving the Berger Blanc pound 48 hours to euthanize Wicca.

As of 9 a.m. today, Wicca was still alive. “She’s doing well, and she’s very happy,” a Berger Blanc employee said by phone.

For Papakostas and Wicca’s supporters, where there is life, there is hope. “We are pleading to the mayor for clemency,” says Sophie Fournier, who runs an animal-rescue group and has been assisting Papakostas with his case. “We are pleading to the Berger Blanc.”

Fournier says that if the city or the pound is willing, a U.S.-based group has already offered to let Wicca live out her life in a dog sanctuary where Papakostas can visit her.■

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