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  1. Hublocker

    Hublocker Member

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    Shot neighbour's dog

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Hublocker, May 12, 2019.

    I know somebody who knew somebody that shot a neighbour's dog when it came through the fence on their rural property and scared their 3-year-old in her sandbox 40 years ago.

    He's a writer and wants to include it in his memoirs.

    What are the legal consequences if his ex-neighbour reads the account if it ever gets published?

    This is in Canada.
     
  2. Merley

    Merley Member

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    I'm not canadian, but even if the ex-neighbor wanted to press charges it wouldn't go through. The 'crime' happened 40 years ago and it was in self protection (or protection of his daughter, it seems)
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Did the neighbour not know at the time? Did the shooter just hide the dog's body or something?

    There's no statue of limitations on indictable offenses in Canada. I don't know what the law was 40 years ago, but today animal cruelty is indictable (it's hybrid, technically, but that distinction doesn't matter for this discussion). So your guy shouldn't rely on the passage of time to protect him, not without more research.

    Honestly, though, I'd be more worried about hard feelings from the neighbour than from problems with the law. I suspect a neighbour of poisoning my cat about ten years ago and I'd still happily set that neighbour's house on fire if I knew their kids wouldn't get hurt (and if I were SURE they'd killed my cat). Thirty years from now? I doubt I'll be completely over it. So if the dog-killer still lives next to the same people, I think he should keep his mouth shut.
     
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  4. Maggie May

    Maggie May Active Member

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    Why in the world would you want to write that. Everyone might assume he was "protecting" his child but there is still going to be some doubt on the subject. Might be a lot of backlash from it, I would not buy the book if I found out he did that.
     
  5. Ma'am

    Ma'am Banned Supporter

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    Statute of limitations would pertain to the guy who killed the dog being tried in criminal court for shooting the dog. Your (your friend's) concern is possibly being sued in civil court for damaging someone's reputation by publicizing what they consider an untrue account of them shooting the dog. So for his purposes, it doesn't matter how long ago the dog was shot.

    This question comes up a lot. The short answer is of course that anyone can sue anyone for anything, much as we'd like an iron-clad way around it.

    That doesn't mean they'd win. But even if they didn't win, you'd still be put through the hassle and expense of having to defending yourself in court. If their case is weak, it's not likely they'd get an attorney to represent them for a percentage of the wins because it's not likely there would be any wins. They could still pay an attorney by the hour to represent them, but as always when spending one's own money, it's less likely.

    So I guess the real question is how to minimize the chances of getting sued and etc. For something that serious, I'd want advice from an attorney. Maybe for now you could just finish writing it, then worry about the problem bits. You could possibly reduce the chance of a lawsuit by turning it into a Roman a' clef, for just one example. (Roman a' clef: French for novel with a key, is a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction).

    Edited for clarity.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The person who wants to write the story is the dog-killer, so I don't see the risk of an action for defamation.

    And there are statutory limitations to civil suits in Canada - they vary by province, but they exist.
     
  7. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    There was a writer in DC, this past week or so, who had her book deal cancelled because she snitched on a transit worker eating on a metro train. The backlash against her was so immediate and severe, her publisher dropped her for any future consideration and the release of the book they signed her for has been put off indefinitely. And all she did was post a picture (of a transit worker eating her breakfast on a train) to social media with the message (paraphrased, of course) I thought we weren't allowed to eat or drink on the train. DC metro, are you watching?

    I don't think 'fessing up to shooting the neighbor's dog, even 40 years later, is going to engender any warm feelings toward your friend.

    ETA:https://metro.co.uk/2019/05/13/authors-book-deal-canceled-shames-public-transport-worker-eating-train-9517028/
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  8. Ma'am

    Ma'am Banned Supporter

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    Maybe I misread the original post, then. Now that re-read it, I'm not really sure who shot the dog vs. who is writing about shooting the dog.

    Also, I didn't say there were not statutory limits on civil suits. I said that the event in question in civil court would be someone possibly currently damaging their neighbor's reputation, regardless of when the dog was shot.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm with you on this one ma'am - he knows somebody(A) who knows somebody(b) who shot a dog ... i think its A who's the writer not B

    you are also right on the civil suit issue since the offense would be defamation not shooting the dog - and the defamation occurs at the date of publication so the statutes of limitation are an irrelevance
     
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  10. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    My baby, my baby in the sandpit and when I sees the labradoodle I riddled the bitch w lead and posted the image on Facebook. Fukking soo me motherfuckers [CANADA].
     
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  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Oh, you're right - sorry. I missed one of the "knows somebody"s.
     
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  12. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    @Both of you are implicated.
     
  13. Maggie May

    Maggie May Active Member

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    Writing your memoirs, do you admit to everything do you write about everything that you did or do you keep some things private. Maybe that's the question.
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm trying to be fearless and honest in my nonfiction. I think both are needed to get published. I've talked to my publisher about concerns, but the sort of things I've worried about similar to issues brought up in these sort of threads don't worry my publisher much if at all. I'm not saying people can't get sued or deals dropped because obviously that happens, but I don't think it happens as much as people think. I'm, for sure, pissing some people off, but I'm also not worried about getting sued, though, I've never killed a dog. But I think nonfiction can be quite powerful and just about anything if handled with care. I guess I'm lucky that I have a publisher to discuss my concerns with, but honestly I feel like I come across looking stupid when I say people won't want me writing about this or people won't like it. My publisher is thinking about the people who will like it and readership. And any sort of lawsuit seems to be the farthest thing from his mind. If you've got some good truths and you can write, do it. That's how I'm looking at things. I might not know everything, but I am working with very experienced people, and there don't seem to be too many things that are off the table for a nonfiction writer. This is my takeaway from where I am as a writer. Honestly, I'm not sure there are any legal consequences in writing this for whoever shot the dog. Personally, I would write about it.
     
  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    There's no such thing as an absolute reality. We are all looking at the world through our very personal lenses, which means that each of us would tell a slightly different story, observing the same events. At the end of the line, a memoir is the story of one person's life. And every story has a purpose and a message, which means the writer can choose to exclude certain events. Writing a memoir doesn't commit to including every detail.

    If it serves the story I'd write it. If it doesn't, then not.
     
  16. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I can’t remember the context of the story, but when I was a kid I heard about some guy whose dog was killed by a neighbor, and so once or twice a year he drove past that neighbors house and broke the windshield on his car. When I’d heard the story, the breaks had been going on for like 10 years and they didn’t live near each other, but he found time for it.
     

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