Vicious dogs kill boy
Five-year-old mauled so badly by pack he couldn’t be identified at first
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.