Criminal charges have been laid against a Sundre woman over allegations that her dogs severely mauled a visitor in her home.
Staff Sgt. Shawn Lemay, media relations officer for the RCMP in Alberta, said that police were called to a home in Sundre Mobile Estates after someone called 911 for help at 2 a.m. on Saturday.
RCMP responding to the scene were informed that two dogs, described to them as “pit bull types,” had mauled a 26-year-old Calgary woman.
Police found an unconscious woman barricaded in a room, suffering critical injuries to her arms and face.
Emergency responders were unsure at the time if she was still alive, said LeMay in a news release issued on Monday.
Police and an emergency medical crew removed the woman from the home and took her to Sundre hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries. She was then transferred via STARS air ambulance to Calgary, where she is in stable condition.
Two dogs had been shut into another bedroom and were described as agitated and trying to get out, said LeMay.
An animal control officer and a veterinarian were called in to deal with the dogs, he said.
One dog was successfully sedated. However, the other managed to escape and charged police officers and emergency responders inside the residence.
Lemay confirmed on Monday that the charging dog was shot dead by one of the police officers at the scene. The officer had no choice, he said.
“Under the circumstances, especially when you consider the traumatic scene that the officers came across and seeing a woman that had just been mauled, when the dog lunged at the police officers, a decision had to be made in order to protect the officers and the public.”
Such a decision is always difficult for police officers, who share the general public’s love and appreciation for domestic animals, said LeMay.
While RCMP members are confident that the right decision was made, an internal review will take place to determine if the proper procedures were followed, he said.
LeMay also provided the following comment from Sgt. Ryan Hodge, head of the Sundre RCMP detachment:
“While doing our very best in advancing this investigation, we are also very cognizant of how this incident has impacted the victim, her family, and emergency workers attending the scene. Even for a seasoned professional, this was a very traumatic scene.”
The surviving dog has been placed in quarantine.
Dog owner Rita Phillip, 57, was not found at the scene and police had not been able to locate her by mid-afternoon on Monday. There were other people in the house at the time of the attack, but LeMay was not able to say how many or who they were.
A warrant for Phillip’s arrest has been issued on a charge of aggravated assault.
While the victim has not been named, police confirm that she was known to the accused.
The investigation remains underway and police are asking for information from anyone who knows where Phillip can be found.
Call the Sundre RCMP at 403-638-3675 or, to remain anonymous, submit information online to www.tipsubmit.com or call Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477.