Vi­cious dogs kill boy

Five-year-old mauled so badly by pack he couldn’t be iden­ti­fied at first

Windsor Star - - Opinion - BY JEFFREYHAW­KINS CANWEST NEWS SER­VICE EDMONTON

A five-year-old boy killed by a pack of dogs Thurs­day night on a north­ern Al­berta re­serve near Fort Ver­mil­ion was so badly mauled that he was im­pos­si­ble to iden­tify at first.

Po­lice say the boy, whose iden­tity is be­ing with­held at the re­quest of his fam­ily, was at­tacked by five or six large dogs while walk­ing back to his home from a rel­a­tive’s house a few doors away.

“Since he had so much dam­age done to his face and up­per body we re­ally had a hard time mak­ing a pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion last evening,” RCMP unit com­man­der Sgt. Ryan Becker said Fri­day.

“In all my years on the force, I’ve never seen dam­age like this.”

Becker said the dogs in­volved were likely strays, which have been a chronic prob­lem on the North Tall­cree First Na­tion re­serve, a Cree com­mu­nity of about 250 peo­ple lo­cated 180 kilo­me­tres south of the North­west Ter­ri­tory bound­ary.

“We haven’t had any­thing like this in a while, but there have been nu­mer­ous com­plaints about stray dogs in this com­mu­nity as well as the sur­round­ing area,” Becker said.

Po­lice say the owner of two of the dogs, an adult male Rot­tweiler and a Ger­man shep­herd, at­tempted to pull his dogs off the small boy, but by that time the boy’s face had been “se­verely” dam­aged.

An Aeromed­i­cal Am­bu­lance team trans­ferred the boy to St. Theresa’s Gen­eral Hospi­tal in Fort Ver­mil­ion, but the boy died be­fore ar­riv­ing.

Becker said the two dogs in­volved in the latest at­tack have been quar­an­tined and the owner is will­ing to have them ex­ter­mi­nated.

Dog at­tacks, es­pe­cially on young chil­dren, have been a re­cur­ring prob­lem for north­ern com­mu­ni­ties. Two young boys died in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents on Man­i­toba re­serves ear­lier this year.

In June, a three-year-old boy was killed in a mauling on Say­isi Dene First Na­tion, and in July, De­rian Bird, 2, died from a mauling on the Hollow Wa­ter First Na­tion.

In Septem­ber, 29-year-old Mar­garet Queskekapo­w was at­tacked by a group of wild dogs on Man­i­toba’s Nor­way House First Na­tion. The at­tack lasted any­where from 10 to 15 min­utes and left Queskekapo­w with in­juries to her right arm so se­vere that re­con­struc­tive plas­tic surgery was her only hope for restor­ing even lim­ited func­tion.

Some north­ern re­serves have by­laws stat­ing that dog own­ers must keep their pets tied up and not let them roam loose. On oth­ers, there are stand­ing or­ders to shoot stray dogs on sight.

Breeds such as Rot­tweil­ers and pit bulls, known for their vi­cious­ness, have been tar­geted by an as­sort­ment of mea­sures meant to pro­tect the pub­lic from at­tacks.

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