Stettler woman wants tougher bylaws after dog attack

A Stettler-area woman is fighting for tougher dog bylaws after her family’s beloved chocolate Labrador was mauled to death by a neighbour’s pit bulls.

A Stettler-area woman is fighting for tougher dog bylaws after her family’s beloved chocolate Labrador was mauled to death by a neighbour’s pit bulls.

The attack happened on Sept. 15 in Wanda Webster’s acreage yard just south of town in the County of Stettler. The pit bulls were seized by animal control, but the dogs were released to their owner the next day as is allowed under the county’s bylaw.

“Those dogs were released to their owner the next morning. That’s just not right,” said Webster, who took her case to county council earlier this month.

Webster said violent dogs should be held at least until the courts have decided their fate. That would have been the procedure under the county’s bylaw had the dogs attacked a person. They are deemed dangerous and held until a court rules on their future.

But the same rules don’t apply in dog-on-dog attacks.

Webster found her dog Hershey badly injured in the yard when she came home about 6 p.m. She called a veterinarian but the eight-year-old dog she had raised from a puppy died before the vet arrived. The pit bulls had ripped open and crushed her dog’s chest, she was told.

The dogs were not from the area, but from town. She saw them being picked up from the road by their owner as she arrived home.

A Stettler provincial court judge will decide the pit bulls’ fates today.

Webster believes the dogs remain a danger and never should have been returned to their owners while the question of whether they are vicious remains undetermined.

“They should have been held. They should have been assessed.”

As horrible as the attack was, she is grateful her three grandchildren, aged eight, six and 18 months old had not come to visit as had been planned.

“Our (attack) was gruesome enough. But if our grand kids had been there that day it could have been 100 times worse.”

County spokesperson Niki Thorsteinsson said council has asked staff to review the dog control bylaw, which will be coming back to council.

The incident is being investigated by RCMP and Animal Control.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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