A couple is devastated after two of their three small dogs died when they were attacked by another dog at a Red Deer kennel.
The owner of the kennel where the dogs were staying has apologized and the dog suspected of the attacks is not allowed back.
Naudia and Leonard Sztym, who live west of Red Deer on an acreage, had taken their dogs — Jasper, a Pomeranian, Casey, a Biewer terrier, and Willow, a Pomeranian cross — to Dark Horses Home Watch & Pet Care in Red Deer, operated by Dale Layton.
The couple had gone out of town last Wednesday and had carefully checked out the kennel previously.
Leonard Sztym said Tuesday that they received a call from the kennel last Friday that they needed to come home right away. They rushed home and learned that Jasper and Casey were dead.
Layton later said in her apology emailed to the Sztyms that their dogs were kept separate from the large dogs until they settled in. On Thursday when it appeared they had, the two play areas for the dogs were merged and there were no issues.
Then on Friday morning, Layton went to answer the doorbell at the business. When she returned to the dogs soon after, she found the large dog — a pitbull-Rottweiler cross — nosing Casey on the ground, and Jasper lying still nearby.
Layton said Jasper did not have a heartbeat. She rushed Casey to the vet but the dog did not survive. She had the owner of the large dog come and pick it up immediately. Layton has since put the owners of the dogs in touch with each other.
There were no witnesses to the incident but Layton believes she knows which dog attacked the Sztyms’ dogs because all the others were separate from the scene when she came upon it. There had been no previous similar incidents, she said. Willow was unharmed.
Leonard Sztym said he has spoken with the owners of the pit bull-Rottweiler, and they too are feeling very bad, and he doesn’t blame them.
He said he and his wife understood when they checked out the kennel that small dogs would be kept separate from large dogs, and that there would always be someone supervising them.
“We’re in shock. We’re in shock.”
“I understand where they’re coming from,” Layton said of the Sztyms. “I am beyond devastated. …I have also lost a dog suddenly myself, not related to the kennel, and the devastation I felt from that is staggering.”
She said she was away from the dogs for less than five minutes and it was typical to put them all together because one of the reasons people bring their dogs there is for socializing.