A dispute over a loose puppy inflamed hostility between next-door neighbours, leading to a tussle in the snow and a beating, a witness testified Wednesday in provincial court.
Knouff Lake resident Sheena Kirouac is charged with assault causing bodily harm, a charge arising from an incident that took place Dec. 6, 2011, on Doyle Road.
April Cole told the court that her husband accidentally let one of their chocolate Labs — a six-month-old puppy named Isabelle — out of their home early that morning. The puppy ran into the neighbour’s yard. She said that prior to the incident, her family got along with Kirouac and her husband, Rick Moulds.
“We had a couple of little run-ins about dogs back and forth … otherwise I felt things were going amicably,” Cole said.
Cole testified that she saw Moulds first toss a snowball at the puppy. When the dog ran to him, he grabbed it by the collar and started kicking it, she said.
“I banged my fist on the window and said, ‘Oh my God, he’s kicking the shit out of the dog,’” Cole testified. Moulds looked up and let go of the dog, she added.
Cole’s husband drove to the foot of their driveway, where he shouted to Moulds to pick on somebody his own size, Cole said. Meanwhile, she went over to retrieve the puppy. When she returned, the two men were wrestling on the ground. She said she was going to try to separate them, but withdrew in fear that she could be injured.
Kirouac came down the driveway at that point.
“I said, ‘What do you have to say to me about this?’” Cole testified. “At this point, I am flabbergasted that this has even come to this point.”
Cole said Kirouac grabbed her by the collar and started punching her.
“’I’ve been waiting for a reason to do this for years,’” Kirouac said, according to Cole’s testimony.
Cole said she received several blows before asking her assailant if she was done.
“When I look at it in retrospect, I wanted her to get it out of her system,” Cole told Crown counsel Carol Hawes. “Be done with it.”
That’s when she received several more blows, fell to her knees and went face first into a snowbank, she said. She said she also felt pressure on the back of her head and later discovered bumps that she figures were caused by additional blows.
Cole denied a suggestion by defence lawyer Don Campbell that Moulds was merely kicking the snow, not the dog.
Dr. Dennis Brown, an opthamologist, testified that he examined Cole after the incident and found damage to her peripheral field of vision. Photos entered as evidence showed she suffered facial bruising and a black eye, and she was later diagnosed with concussion.
Campbell also suggested that Cole was considering suing Kirouac for civil damages, which Cole denied.
Cole said she was unable to return to work as a drywall installer the following week and hasn’t worked in the last six months. Both families have tried to sell their homes in the year since the incident. Cole said her family spent the summer on the coast to remove themselves from the situation.
Another seven or eight witnesses are expected to testify as the case continues in court.