Vet sues dog owner

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

A BRIS­BANE vet is su­ing a dog owner for $100,000, claim­ing she de­famed him and his prac­tice as lack­ing morals in posts on Face­book, Twit­ter and on­line re­views.

In an omi­nous warn­ing for Queens­land so­cial me­dia users, the four-year le­gal bat­tle erupted af­ter Car­rie Bar­low, the owner of bea­gle Valen­tine vented her frus­tra­tion on Twit­ter, claim­ing the Al­bion Vet Surgery marked-up dog drugs by 400 per cent.

Allen O’Grady, who op­er­ated the busi­ness at the time along with the Ea­tons Hill Vet Surgery north­west of Bris­bane, claims in his Dis­trict Court law­suit that Ms Bar­low de­famed him seven times over a 10-day pe­riod in Oc­to­ber, 2014.

Me­dia lawyers be­lieve it to be the first Twit­ter defama­tion bat­tle in the state to go to hear­ing, and say it should serve as a warn­ing to so­cial me­dia users.

The posts also in­clude Ms Bar­low’s re­sponse, af­ter the prac­tice wrote to tell her they would no longer of­fer emer­gency treat­ment for her pets, and days later a le­gal let­ter threat­en­ing defama­tion ac­tion from the vet surgery.

Ms Bar­low is de­fend­ing the claims on the ba­sis of fair com­ment and ex­pres­sion of opin­ion and de­nies she acted out of mal­ice.

A trial had been due to be heard last month, but was pushed back to Fe­bru­ary due to Mr O’Grady’s ill health.

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