The family of a Maple Ridge woman found dead on a blueberry farm claim vicious dogs killed her, in a lawsuit against the farm owners and the City of Pitt Meadows.
Jun Peng, the husband of Ping (Amy) Guo, whose body was discovered in a blueberry field at Doremi Blueberry Farm Ltd. last year, and Ping’s daughter, Kelsey Peng, filed a notice of civil claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. on Feb. 11.
The claim lists as defendants: 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 the lawsuit, the family stated that Guo 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 that 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.
The Peng’s accused the defendants in the lawsuit of failing to take any reasonable care to ensure the farm was safe for visitors, that they did not warn Guo of the possible presence of dangerous animals on the farm, they didn’t have an adequate system of inspection and maintenance to make sure the farm was safe from dangerous animals or other hazards, and that they were not in compliance with the Occupier’s Liability Act – that states the occupier of a premises has a duty, under reasonable circumstances, to make sure that a person on the premises of their property will be reasonably safe.
With regards to the claim against the city, the family said the City of Pitt Meadows failed to enforce the Dog Control Bylaw and that the city either knew or should have known that an aggressive or vicious dog or multiple dogs were in the vicinity of the farm. If a city bylaw enforcement officer was doing their job properly, said the family in the claim, they would have determined by observation the aggressive behaviour of a dog or multiple dogs and written the owners a notice. The bylaw officer should have also seized the dog or dogs because there were reasonable grounds to believe the dog or dogs were dangerous.
The owners of the dog or dogs are also named in the lawsuit because they allowed their dog or dogs to be at large even thought they displayed aggressive behaviour. The dog owners’ identities are unknown, and they are refered to in the lawsuit as Jane and/or John Doe.
The Peng’s are seeking compensation for: special and general damages, the loss of guidance and companionship from their wife and mother, the loss of support and household assistance for her husband, loss of guidance and motherly care for her daughter, funeral expenses, loss of inheritance, other costs, and further relief that might be deemed just by the court.
None of their accusations have been tested in a court of law.
Corporal Julie Klaussner with the Ridge Meadows RCMP said she cannot speak to the specific details of the case as the investigation is ongoing.
“This could compromise the integrity of the investigation,” she said.
Carolyn Baldridge with the City of Pitt Meadows, also declined to comment, as the investigation has not concluded.
“It is our understanding that this is still under investigation by the RCMP. Given that this matter is before the Courts, it would be inappropriate for us to comment,” she said.
A director of the farm, who didn’t want to be named, told The News that the business was not open at the time of the incident and that he had no new information, other than what was publicized when the incident first took place.
Days after Guo’s body was discovered the Conservation Officer Service were called in to investigate the possibility of an animal attack and the agency issued a warning online about black bears in the area.
When asked by The News about why the Peng family has accused vicious dogs of attacking Guo, the family’s lawyer, Alexander C. McQuarrie said “no comment.”
The BC Conservation Officer Service declined comment as the matter is before the courts.
On their website, Doremi Blueberry Farm is described as a new business, in their first year of operation, hoping to become a large part of the Lower Mainland community.
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