A public fundraising campaign is underway to help pay expensive veterinarian bills for two dogs that suffered serious injuries during attacks by other dogs in Rocky Mountain House.
A web page has been set up at gofundme.com/rockyvetbills and an account named “Rocky dog attack” was opened on Friday at the Rocky Credit Union by Sue and Rick Overbaugh. People can go in to the credit union to make a donation. The online goal is $5,000 and within hours $390 had been raised.
Both dogs attacked were seriously injured. The initial vet bill for Jenna Ellefson’s dog was $663, and for Theresa Kokesch’s dog was $1,200. But the bills are expected to increase with further treatment.
Sue Overbaugh said her husband, Rick, a heavy duty mechanic and former member of the military, was the first person on the scene on Monday after he heard Ellefson’s screams on the walking path behind their home.
Three loose pit bulls were attacking Ellefson’s Belgian shepherd, Dakota. Overbaugh fought them off alone for several minutes until three Pioneer Middle School students and two other men who were driving by came to help.
Two of the pit bulls eventually ran on down the path, where they encountered 86-year-old Kokesch, who was walking her daughter Audrey Kokesch’s dog, a golden Labrador named Shelly. Again, Good Samaritans, some of them who had helped in the first attack, came to the rescue, helping the senior fight off the attacking dogs with sticks and by kicking.
Rocky Senior Peace Officer Jason Springham said the investigation is ongoing but no charges have been laid yet.
“We are putting all our resources into this,” he said.
“We’re still in the process of finishing up our investigation at this time and right now we’re looking at all the information in the statements that have been provided to us.”
Two of the pit bulls were apprehended and are being held by Alberta Animal Services, which has the Town of Rocky Mountain House’s animal control contract.
The third pit bull was not apprehended and is believed to have returned to its owner in Rocky.
The two that were captured are still being assessed, said Springham.
“We will be making an appropriate decision going forward with the dogs. Right now, that’s all I can say,” he said.
The town does have a dog bylaw that includes a section on aggressive dogs, similar to a bylaw in the City of Red Deer. There is also a provincial Dangerous Dog Act.
Sue Overbaugh said after the first attack, her husband walked Jenna and her injured dog home to make sure they got there safely.
He was upset when he learned about the other attack, she said.
“He’s still just so upset. He said it was horrific,” and he has been having trouble sleeping, Sue Overbaugh said.
She said it didn’t help that when she and one of the students both called 911 separately during the incident, they were both put on hold for five minutes. The calls are routed through a dispatch centre in Calgary.