DNA tests show dogs killed B.C. woman, not bear as first thought: coroner’s report

VANCOUVER — A woman killed while picking blueberries on a farm east of Vancouver was initially thought to have died in a bear attack in August 2021, but a newly released coroner’s report says she was mauled by dogs from another property.

The report says the dogs responsible for the death of 54-year-old Ping (Amy) Guo at a Pitt Meadows farm were only identified after their DNA was tested when another person died 17 months later at the neighbouring home. 

Guo’s husband and daughter are suing the owners of the blueberry farm, as well as the City of Pitt Meadows, over alleged negligence in failing to ensure her safety.

The lawsuit, updated in June 2023, also identifies Baljit Haer as the dog owner and says the man is dead but formerly lived at the property next to the farm.

The defendants each deny negligence in separate responses to the lawsuit initially filed in February 2022.

The lawsuit seeks general and special damages over the loss of the guidance and care Guo provided to her family as well as funeral costs and other expenses.

Haer and an unidentified woman are also listed as defendants, and a response filed by Haer’s lawyer last November denies that he was the owner of an “aggressive, vicious and dangerous dog” as the lawsuit alleges.

In the alternative, it says Haer had taken reasonable steps to ensure the dog remained under appropriate supervision and control and denies any negligence.

The coroner’s report says the dogs responsible for killing Guo were euthanized in January 2023, shortly after the death at the property next to the blueberry farm.

That death remains under investigation by the coroner’s service.

A social media post from the Conservation Officer Service around the time of Guo’s death says authorities were investigating whether a black bear was to blame.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press