Sunday, February 28, 2010

Deer Rescued by Wellesley Police and Fire

MASSACHUSETTS -- Wellesley Police and firefighters were sent to the corner of Glen Road and Springdale Road for an unusual call on Sunday, February 28, 2010. A resident reported that a deer was trapped in a muddy pond at the rear of a residence.

Arriving officers and firefighters found a deer stuck in very thick mud. The mud, snow and ice had recently thawed and was several feet deep. The deer’s rear legs had sunk and were not visible. The animal appeared injured, and struggled to keep its head out of the mud. The deer was clearly not able to free itself, so rescuers went to work.
 

Sgt. Glen Gerrans stabilized the deer’s head, while members of the Wellesley Fire department secured gear to assist in the extrication. Sue Webb, the animal control officer, and members of the Boston Animal Rescue League also responded to the incident to lend their expertise.

Rescuers themselves were hindered by the deep, thick mud and lack of footing as they entered the flooded pond. Wellesley Fire Lieutenant Chuck DiGiandomenico, wearing a survival suit, managed to dig a hole underneath the animal and attach a rope line to the deer’s midsection.

Lt. DiGiandomenico then was able to dig and clear some of the mud away, breaking the suction of the mud. With the help of other rescuers, the team then physically pulled the deer out of the mud and on to dry land.


Wellesley Fire Lieutenant Chuck DiGiandomenico works to free the deer.

A cheer went up through a small crowd that had gathered on Glen Road to watch the rescue as the deer was pulled free. Wellesley Police officers and firefighters then put the animal on a stretcher and carried the deer through the woods and across a stream to a waiting Boston Animal Rescue League vehicle.

The deer was going to be evaluated for injuries at the Rescue League.

(Wellesley Police - Feb 28, 2010)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Boy, 5, 'scalped' by Rottweiler in horror attack

UNITED KINGDOM -- A five-year-old boy has been left permanently scarred after he was 'scalped' by a Rottweiler.

Rhys Webb, who will never be able to grow hair on parts of his head, needed 87 stitches after the random attack.


But the owner of the dog called Rocky escaped prosecution because the animal wasn't in his care at the time.

Rhys was playing with his two brothers in a communal garden in Rainham, Essex, when the Rottweiler charged around a corner, sank his teeth into the boy's head and shook him from side to side.

His father Andrew Webb, 28, said: 'The dog made a beeline for Rhys, totally unprovoked. It sunk his teeth into his head, and Rhys tried to get up and run, but the dog got his head like a football. The skin had been dragged down from the back over the front.

'He was just ripping the skin back from his head. He was pretty much scalped. I ran down, launched myself at the dog and punched it until it let go. I had to stem the blood with towels. It was a horrible thing to see. If the dog had gone for one of the younger children they would have died.'

Yesterday the dog was ordered to be destroyed by Recorder Mary Spacey at Basildon Crown Court.

She said: 'One police officer described him as being "de-gloved", the dog had taken off the scalp from the boy's head from ear to ear in the attack.

'The dog is clearly dangerous. It simply refused to let go of that poor boy's skull and he was scalped.'

Rocky's owner Steven Spence had left him in the care of his friend Kevin Mills, 47, in December 2008. But he went out, leaving the dog with his drug-addicted brother, Graham, 45.

Graham Mills admitted being in charge of a dog which caused injury whilst dangerously out of control.

He received a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months and was banned from keeping dogs for 10 years. He also was given a curfew, requiring him to be at home between 9pm and 6am, and a drug rehabilitation requirement.

Rhys's mother Cassie Daly, 25 said after the sentence: 'I am angry that the owner of the dog didn't get anything at all but at least the dog was destroyed.

'I was so relieved to tell Rhys the dog couldn't hurt him again. That was the main thing I wanted.

'I am grateful that somebody got done for it, though I am disappointed with the sentence and I'm disappointed Steven Spence couldn't be prosecuted or banned from keeping dogs because I blame the owner more than then animal.'

(Daily Mail UK - Feb 26, 2010)

Wyoming: Authorities seize more than 100 animals from Marci Biesheuvel who operated a "rescue" called Litl' Bit of Love Animal Rescue and Sanctuary

WYOMING -- A rural animal rescue facility northwest of here had 93 dogs, 17 cats and several pet rabbits confiscated Wednesday afternoon because officials say they were in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Marci Biesheuvel, 50, after she allegedly refused to allow them into her residence at 4765 County Road 206 on a search warrant.

The warrant was issued in response to a complaint from a prospective customer who visited the non-profit that Biesheuvel operates there, Litl' Bit of Love Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.


Rob Shank, shelter manager at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, said there were 45 dogs living inside the manufactured home, and more were living in outdoor kennels.

Officers at the site said the house floor, where Biesheuvel lived, was littered with feces. A foul odor from the house could be detected about 20 feet away.

The dogs, cats and rabbits will be examined at the shelter and kept there in protective custody at least until the case is resolved. Aside from the misdemeanor obstruction charge, other charges have not been proposed yet in connection to the animal case.

Biesheuvel had dozens of dogs of various breeds listed on Petfinder.com as available for adoption Wednesday. There also were several cats, goats and two donkeys.

Several individual entries on the site were checked, and they said the animals were fixed and were up to date on their shots.

The property is about 40 acres with fences, a manufactured home and outbuildings.

Law enforcement officers with the Wyoming Livestock Board also were at the scene to check the dozens of horses and other livestock on the property. They said these animals were adequately fed and watered, so they could stay put.

Jimmy Dean Siler, a livestock law enforcement administrator, was on the property and was familiar with Biesheuvel. He had checked out past complaints about the animals' welfare, as well as reports of their escape. He also has done spot checks on the property.

Siler said he has seen as many as 40 horses kept there, along with emus, llamas, geese, rabbits, donkeys and goats.

"You name it," he said.

He said the state agency had never ended up confiscating her animals, but Wyoming statute is very general about the treatment of livestock, he said.

"Adequate food, adequate water, windbreak — that's it," he said. The law gives no specifics on, say, the type or quality of food.

"(Biesheuvel) does attempt to follow the rules," Siler said.

And she's always been "extremely cooperative," he added.

(Wyoming News - Feb 25, 2010)

Man & Woman Arrested, Charged with Child Abuse & Animal Cruelty

NORTH CAROLINA -- A man and woman in Burnsville, NC have been arrested on child and animal cruelty charges, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Chief Deputy Thomas Farmer told the paper it was one of the most vile things he has ever witnessed.

Deputies went to a barn and pasture off Green Mountain Drive to check out a report of malnourished horses.

Kimberly Nicole Hendrix

Nathan Daniel Woody

Inside the barn they found a dead horse.

Farmer says during the investigation, detectives learned that the two planned to return to the barn and cut up the dead horse to dispose of it.  They were arrested when they arrived on the scene with chainsaws.

Four other horses were found with signs of malnourishment.

When investigators went to the residence on Blue Rock Road, they found 15 malnourished dogs, and two dead dogs.

Investigators also took custody of the woman's 2-year-old daughter who was living in the home among among trash and animal waste.

Kimberly Hendrix and Nathan Woody are both charged in the case.

(WSPA - Feb 25, 2010)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grandmother has 100 stitches after being mauled by Staffordshire bull terrier

UNITED KINGDOM -- Margaret White, of Sidcup, nearly lost an ear and had to have more than 100 stitches. She was visiting a sick friend, Susan Molden, in Chislehurst, when she was attacked by the Staffordshire bull terrier last Friday.

Mrs White said when she knocked on the door, Mrs Molden's young granddaughter answered it and the dog came charging out and attacked her.

Help did not come until several minutes later when the child's mother, who had been in the shower, pulled the dog away.


Speaking from hospital, where she is being treated for face and neck injuries, Mrs White said: “It was terrifying. I was thinking how long is it going to be before they come out and get him off or am I just going to die here?'

"I curled up in a ball and covered my head so he couldn't get me, but he got through. If he'd got any further down my neck I would've been finished.”

Her granddaughter, Suzanne Page, 25, has set up a petition on the No 10 website calling for the Dangerous Dogs Act to be redrawn.

Mrs Molden, whose son William allegedly owns the dog, declined to comment. Police said there had been no arrests and the dog was not an illegal breed. They said the dog was still with the family but arrangements have been made for it to be destroyed.

(This is London - Feb 25, 2010)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maine: Horse farm owned by Alexis Ingraham and Brett Ingraham under scrutiny

MAINE --  Some of the horses at Fair Play Farm & Stables in Clinton are in tough shape.

There’s one recovering from broken front legs and another healing from torn groin muscles. Both have needed ropes and a pulley system mounted to the rafters to help them stand. There’s a blind horse and another that was born with one eye.


Among the 47 horses at the farm Tuesday, at least a few were visibly malnourished. The condition of those animals has prompted widespread outcry and a state investigation, but the owners of the farm say it’s all the result of a small group of people making a lot of noise.

“There’s no problem here,” said Brett Ingraham, who started the Tardiff Road farm about five months ago with his wife, Alexis. “Anyone who wants to come see for themselves is welcome. We have nothing to hide.”

To finance their operation on the leased farm, the Ingrahams said, they buy and sell horses, they board some, and they offer riding lessons and other programs.


The Ingrahams said the poor condition of some of their herd is the result of their willingness to take in almost any horse, whatever its condition. Still, they are accused of neglecting their animals.

The state’s animal welfare program is investigating Fair Play Farm, and the Animal Welfare Advisory Council is scheduled to discuss the conditions of the animals at a hearing this morning in Augusta. Complaints have been to the state, prompting visits by animal welfare investigators and state veterinarians, according to Norma Worley, who directs the animal welfare program.


“I really can’t say a lot,” said Worley on Tuesday. “We have been there several times. The owners are cooperating with us.” Worley said District Attorney Evert Fowle has instructed her not to release “any information on our investigation.” Fowle did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Meris J. Bickford is one of the people who has filed a complaint against Fair Play Farm. Bickford is an attorney for the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals and a member of the Animal Welfare Advisory Council. Despite those roles, she said, she didn’t visit the farm earlier this month as an animal rights activist, but as a lifelong horse lover looking to buy an animal.


“When I left Fair Play Farm, my first telephone call was to the animal welfare program in Augusta,” said Bickford. “I drove straight there and at [Worley’s] request I memorialized my observations in a report and submitted it to her the next morning.”

Bickford said she saw several horses that were “shockingly thin,” inadequate shelter for the herd and some animals “covered in rain rot,” a matting of the coat that is caused by exposure to weather and not enough grooming.

“There are horses hundreds of pounds underweight,” she said. “You don’t have to be a veterinarian to see it. All you have to be is alive.”


Maddy Gray of Brunswick runs an equine enthusiast Web site called NickerNews.net. Gray has posted articles and photographs on the site under headlines such as “Foul Play at Fair Play” and “Starving Clinton Horses,” among others.

“Of course, the horse community has responded in a clamorous way,” Gray said. “If the Ingrahams were to say ‘Yes, we need help,’ there’s probably 50 people ready to provide foster homes, most of whom would not require reimbursement.” Gray alleges that since the situation at Fair Play Farm came to light, the Ingrahams have been trucking horses off the property “to conceal the evidence.”

Statements like that one will come back to haunt Gray and Bickford, and others who have disparaged the farm, said the Ingrahams.

“People are going to get sued,” said Brett Ingraham. “This is just three or four people whose lies got around and now it’s everywhere.”

The Ingrahams say they take in as many as 10 horses a week, the majority of which are quickly sold to new homes. Alexis Ingraham said the farm has sold 50 horses this winter. Some of the horses they take in come in groups, such as retired racehorses from Florida. Others come from owners who couldn’t care for them. Some ar-rive in terrible condition.

“They don’t turn around overnight,” said Alexis Ingraham. “We’ve got five or six skinny horses, and we’re probably going to keep them.”



The Ingrahams said anyone who makes an appointment is welcome to see Fair Play Farm by calling 649-9547 or 649-9541.

Gray said her ire regarding Fair Play Farm is fed partly by what she called the state’s slow response to past incidents. Worley responded that her office has just four investigators covering Maine, handling more than 800 animal welfare complaints a year. Of those, fewer than 30 complaints a year result in court action.

“We do prioritize every complaint that comes down based on what we’re told, and we try to respond within 24 hours,” she said. “We have four humane agents in the entire state, and they’re probably covering 600 square miles each.”


State Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds, aside from being a Holstein farmer, is the Senate chairman of the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. He said the committee has requested weekly updates on the Fair Play Farm situation, which he sees as a symptom of a larger problem.

“Some of these horses were taken from someone else who was abandoning them,” said Nutting, who said most of the state’s horse rescue farms are full as a result. “The thing that frustrates me the most here is the number of people who did not think through seriously whether or not they could afford to get a couple of horses last year. That isn’t this farm’s fault.”

(Bangor Daily News - Feb. 23, 2010)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Escondido Pit Bull Attack


CALIFORNIA -- A man said he was badly bitten in an Escondido gated community by a pair of aggressive dogs, one of which animal control officials said has a history of biting, the North County Times reported.

Tom Atkinson, 56, said he was finishing a jog Tuesday morning on Rock View Glen in the Emerald Heights development when he noticed what looked like two loose pit-bull mix dogs growling at a neighbor and his leashed dog, according to the paper.


Atkinson said he joined the neighbor, and as the men walked on, the wandering dogs jumped at him. He said he fought off the dogs, and they ran away.

However, as he continued up the street, Atkinson said the dogs turned around and charged. He said the pair bit him several times, leaving him with one bad bite to the forearm that a doctor said will need stitches and another deep bite to the thigh.

An animal control officer responded and impounded one of the dogs, later releasing it back to the owner, who promised to keep it on a 10-day quarantine, the paper reported.


Man Describes Pit Bull Attack
"The black dog was going to come after me," the victim of a pit-bull attack said Wednesday. "And I stepped back, but then ..."

Escondido resident Tom Atkinson was jogging Tuesday morning in his quiet, gated neighborhood on Rock View Glen in the Emerald Heights development when the attack occurred. He said the two pit bulls threatened a neighbor's dog, then came after him, biting him on the arm, the hand and the thigh.

He said that one dog attacked first, then the other joined in.

"I was still trying to avoid this dog with kicks and slaps, but this one I was punching as much as I could," Atkinson said. "Didn't do much good."


Escondido Animal Control said that one of the dogs may have bitten another victim in the same area.

It was reported this morning that an animal control officer responded and impounded one of the dogs, later releasing it back to its owner, who promised to keep it on a 10-day quarantine. However, during the afternoon, animal control said the dogs had both been euthanized with the owner's permission.

(NBC San Diego - Feb 17, 2010)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

California: Animal control officer Terrie Flynn under investigation for horse neglect

CALIFORNIA -- County officials have asked an outside agency to assist with the investigation into allegations that a Lake County Animal Care and Control staff member did not properly care for her own horses.

As part of the case a horse with a serious injury that also was significantly underweight was relinquished to Animal Care and Control last week, Deputy Director Bill Davidson said Friday.

In addition, the care of another five horses, all of which also are underweight, is being investigated, Davidson said. However, those animals have not been impounded.

Davidson would only say that the person at the center of the case was a staff member. However, sources close to the investigation identified the person as Officer Terrie Flynn.

Flynn has, in her capacity as an animal control officer, worked on horse neglect and abuse cases around the county, as Lake County News has reported.

Last April, the Board of Supervisors voted to send Flynn to Reno for the National Cruelty Investigators School Level 1, according to county documents.

The current case led Animal Care and Control administration to consult with County Counsel Anita Grant, Davidson said.

“The conclusion of the whole discussion was that this should be handled by an outside agency,” he said.

Grant said Mendocino County Animal Control has been asked to come in and take over the investigation.

“The department head in this case is out of the mix,” Grant said of Animal Care and Control Director Denise Johnson. “She has voluntarily removed herself.”

In addition to being Flynn's boss, Johnson also is Flynn's mother-in-law.

Davidson said Senior Animal Control Officer George Hodgson from Mendocino County is due to meet with Lake County officials on Tuesday to take over the investigation.

Flynn has not been placed on administrative leave and was at work on Friday. She was paged to go to Johnson's office while a Lake County News reporter was on the scene to photograph the injured horse whose ownership she had signed over to the agency.

A determination about administrative leave likely would come at the end of the investigation, Grant said.

Such administrative leave decisions usually are made within a department, but in this case Grant suggested that the decision would be turned over to another official, possibly in the Human Resources Department or the County Administrative Office.

While Flynn was out of town last week, a report came in about the condition of her six horses.

A small pinto stallion, estimated to be about 4 years old, was impounded by animal control officers last Friday, Feb. 5, Davidson said.

The horse was “significantly underweight,” said Davidson, with a body conditioning score of two – meaning very thin and emaciated – out of a possible nine, with the highest score denoting an overweight animal.

However, Davidson said, “The main issue surrounding the impoundment was due to the injury.”

The horse had suffered an injury to its genitals, likely due to being caught in a fence, Davidson said.

The injury required immediate health care, which Flynn paid for initially. The horse later was signed over due to the owner – who Davidson again didn't identify as Flynn – realizing they were in “over their head” because of the injury, he said.

On Friday the stallion, being kept in a paddock behind the Animal Care and Control building, was active and his wound appeared to be healing. Davidson said the wound had improved since the horse was taken into care.

The animal also appeared to have put on some weight, although his ribs were still very visible through his thick winter coat.

The other five horses in the case are all “generally underweight but they're not significantly so,” Davidson said.

On Saturday, the pinto stallion is due to be picked up by a Modesto-based rescue group that has agreed to find the horse a new home, he said.

As for possible prosecution in the case, Davidson said, “We're going to wait and see what Officer Hodgson finds.”

Grant said the county is hoping for a “good and fair view” of the case by bringing in an independent, outside agency to conduct the investigation.

“The public deserves to be assured that people in animal control aren't going to be treated any different than members of the public,” she said.

(Lake County News - February 12, 2010)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

South Africa: Owner may have given away pit bull alleged to have savaged Ashburton jogger

SOUTH AFRICA -- THE pit-bull terrier that severely injured Ashburton resident Janice Whitelaw has vanished.

Whitelaw was bitten on the arm, face and neck by the 18-month-old pit-bull, Velo, and a smaller dog while jogging in the neighbourhood on Thursday evening.

The dog, owned by Keagan Petersen (20), has a reputation in the area for being ferocious.

It has allegedly attacked and terrorised a number of residents and their dogs. Gardeners and domestic workers who have to walk past the house to get to work are said to be so fearful of the dog that they walk in groups or take longer routes.

Whitelaw, who was released from hospital yesterday to recover at home, said that after the story was published on Saturday, police came to take a statement from her in hospital.

She was told that the police were going to interview Petersen’s father.

Whitelaw’s husband, Gavin (not Clive as published previously), has been unable to get clarity about what should happen to the dog and who will be responsible for euthanasing it.

He was not even clear about whether they could open a case against the dogs’ owners after being told that he would have to wait until his wife could make a statement.

The Witness understands that the SPCA does not have jurisdiction to impound dogs, which is the responsibility of the Msunduzi Municipality’s licensing department.

A team from the municipality was due to collect the dog from the owner’s home yesterday, allegedly to be put down. However, when they went to the house yesterday, the dog was gone.

The Witness has learnt that the owner told the municipality that the dog has been given away.

When interviewed by Weekend Witness on Friday, Petersen said his dog poses no threat in the neighbourhood. He added that the dog was too fat and lazy to be able to jump the fence. However, this was challenged by many people who said they have seen it jump the fence.

Whitelaw said the gate was closed when she was attacked.

Petersen said Velo walks with a limp from an injury some time ago. He added that he loved his dog and would rather have it removed than have it killed.

When the municipal official responsible for the case was contacted, The Witness was told that only the manager could comment to the media.

Msunduzi Municipality licensing department manager Mandla Sithole told the paper to call after an hour by when he would have been briefed.

He was contacted both on his landline and cellphone numerous times but was unavailable.

The Whitelaws have opened a case against the dog owners for keeping a ferocious dog.

(NEWS24 - Feb 9, 2010)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kansas: Samantha Jo Wright arrested again after not showing up to court on her animal cruelty charge

KANSAS -- Samantha Jo Wright was booked in Coffey County, KS. Unable to locate any additional information.

Name: Samantha Jo Wright
Mugshots.com ID: 71308415
Jailed at: 02/07/2010
City: Waverly
Currnet Age: 31
Status: Arrested by Waverly Police Department Feb 7 for  -

  • obstructing legal process and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license
  • an Emporia Police Department warrant
  • a Burlington Police Department warrant for failure to appear on a charge of cruelty toward an animal
  • a Cherokee County warrant. 
Held on a $1,500 bond for the 1st two bookings, a $677 cash bond on the EPD warrant, a $188 cash bond on the BPD warrant and no bond on the Cherokee County warrant.

Tennessee: George Robertson Jr., gets 2 days in the county jail after starving his Rat Terrier. "The left side of the dog's mouth, jaw and tongue were gone by the time the dog was taken to the local animal shelter"

TENNESSEE -- A Dyersburg man who failed to seek medical help for his pet and allowed the dog's mouth to rot away will spend just two days in jail.

George Robertson Jr., 50, 1813 Schaffer St., pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty to animals Tuesday in Dyersburg Municipal Court. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail with all but 48 hours suspended. He is to reimburse the Dyersburg/ Dyer County Humane Society for its costs of $233.57 and must also pay court costs. He will be on supervised probation for the remainder of his suspended sentence.


Humane Society President Carol Feather said this was the worst case of animal cruelty she's witnessed. She also believes this may be the first time anyone in Dyer County has received jail time for a cruelty case.

The investigation began Dec. 14 when Judy Robertson took an emaciated black and white rat terrier mix to the animal shelter while her husband was out of town. The dog belonged to her husband, George. She told Animal Control Officer Bobby Turnage that the dog was 16 years old, was sick and needed to be euthanized.

"Although Robertson advised Turnage that the animal had refused to eat, it devoured the food presented to it by the Humane Society as if it were starving," a Dyersburg Police Department report stated.

Judy Robertson told police the dog had cut his lip a month earlier while trying to eat out of a dog food can. The family couldn't afford to take the dog to a veterinarian. Robertson told police the family was attempting to treat the wound and believed it was actually healing.

Dr. Jon Martin of Animal Care Hospital examined the dog and determined that it probably hadn't been fed for two weeks to a month. Martin found no evidence of food in the dog's stomach or intestines.

The wounds on the dog's mouth were at least two weeks old, the veterinarian reported. The skin, muscle and bone on the left side of the dog's face were necrotic and the jawbone was exposed. One-third of the dog's tongue also had rotted away. 

The vet also reported a "horrible, fetid odor" to the dog's mouth. The dog was having trouble swallowing and was panting.


The terrier, which was estimated to be 3 years old, also had scabs on both front legs, fleas and other problems.

The dog's prognosis was listed as "poor to grave." Martin described this as a case of complete lack of care with obvious signs of abuse.

Robertson was cited to city court. The dog was euthanized.

The police report noted that the Robertsons had at least three more dogs, all of which appeared to be well fed and in good health.

(State Gazette - February 6, 2010)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Canada: Boy's death from dog attack a tragic loss for community

CANADA -- The chief of the Canoe Lake First Nation is baffled at the recent death of a ten-year-old by a pack of dogs, and is looking at community effort in hopes of controlling dangerous dogs in the future.

"We as the leaders of the community, we're kind of shocked that this has happened," said Canoe Lake Chief Guy Lariviere. "We don't know why dogs would do that.... But we're trying to deal with it in our community and make sure something like that doesn't happen again."

The young boy, Keith Iron, was walking to his cousin's house for a visit at 11:30am on January 30 when a pack of three dogs attacked him. There were no witnesses of the attack but a short while later he was found laying on the ground mauled to death. 

According to Chief Lariviere, the distance Keith was walking was equal to half a city block.

"(The dogs) were domestic dogs, they were owned, they weren't a wild pack. There's no explanation as to why those dogs went after the boy," Chief Lariviere said.

Upon the RCMP's arrival at the scene to investigate, the three dogs ran away, but Chief Lariviere was with the RCMP and others when the dogs returned and were shot.

"(The police) were looking at all options, they were looking at what could have all possibly happened and what the circumstances were. I'm not sure what their findings were," Chief Lariviere said about the ongoing investigation.

The three dogs belonged to different individuals in the community and no charges have been laid. A coroner's report is being undertaken and will be released once it is done.

"I feel responsible," said Chief Lariviere. "And so do the owners of the dogs. The leadership is responsible because we should have done something more, I don't know what. We did what we thought was best at the time."

He said the Chief and council had a bylaw in place for the past two years to deal with stray dogs and dogs deemed dangerous. However, there is a problem in enforcing that bylaw.

"When there's any stray dogs around, our bylaw states that we should--they have to be gotten rid of--in a humane way as possible as we can," Chief Lariviere said.

"(When) people have dogs, that people think (are) dangerous we request that they be tied up. And I think some of those dogs that were there, they had been tied up before, because people had complained they were aggressive."

At the time the bylaw was being put in place two years ago, Chief Lariviere approached the RCMP and asked if there was any way they could help enforce the sanctions on dangerous dogs. Although the police wanted to help they said their hands were tied because it was a matter of the municipal government, in this case the Chief and council.

"They tried to help, but they don't have anything in the books to help," said Lariviere, adding that there is a problem in how dangerous dogs are identified simply by word-of-mouth and uninvestigated complaints. There are also insufficient funds to pay for a dog-catcher and people get mad when one is hired and tries to do the job.

"Some of the dog owners are not very happy when the dog catcher is walking by or threatens to do something about their dog," Chief Lariviere said.

As for what the leadership will do now to handle the dog problem, the chief said they will look at how the bylaw can be enforced and also at the possibility of building community awareness on dog ownership.

To update the dog bylaw, it has to be first approved by the band, than by the provincial Indian Affairs office and finally the federal office in Ottawa.

"We're going to have to toss that around," Chief Lariviere said. "It has to be a community effort and I think that's what we're going to put on our bylaw. All our community has to do that policing."

Soon after the incident, therapists from Health Canada and the Meadow Lake Tribal Council were on hand to offer support and counseling to family and community members.

"It's just one of those things that just happened, it could happen anywhere," Chief Lariviere said. "I think people realize that."

(Saskatechewan Sage - February 1, 2010)