Five dogs have been ordered to be euthanized after they attacked three young teenagers in Ponteix without warning.
According to sentencing documents, the teens, two 13-year-old girls and a 14-year-old boy, were walking down the street in Ponteix together in June. When they walked past Robert Carpenter’s house the Labradors came at them.
A courtroom in Swift Current heard the boy took off on his bike to try to lure the dogs away from the girls. The dogs followed him and bit him on the leg when he ran into a friend’s home.
The girls tried to get away, but the dogs came back. One girl froze, while the other stepped back – and it’s the second girl the dogs attacked. She told court she tried to run, but the dogs knocked her down and bit her arms and legs.
The second girl came out of the attack with scratches, bites, and bruises on her arms and legs – and there are scars on her legs she’ll have for the rest of her life. She told court she has pets, but after the attack she now has a fear of dogs.
Robert Carpenter was convicted of two counts of owning an animal that attacked a person. Carpenter agreed that one of the dogs, Rainbow, is a biter and should be put down, but he argued against destroying the other four. Court heard Rainbow had bitten someone previously in Calgary.
The dogs got out of Carpenters’ backyard because a hinge was missing in the gate, and Carpenter said he’d tried to buy a replacement hinge but couldn’t find one.
In his sentencing decision, Judge K.P. Bazin said no evidence had been provided for him to be confident the attack wouldn’t happen again.
Bazin wrote that it’s significant the dogs attacked together, as a pack.
The judge also wrote that Carpenter didn’t have insight into the seriousness of the attack or to the potential harm the dogs present to other people. Bazin wrote Carpenter said if the dogs were serious about hurting the teens they could have done a lot more damage. Bazin said Carpenter seemed to indicate he believed the teens provoked the attack somehow.
“He had argued that by running away, (the teen) provoked the attack, as people should know not to look dogs in the eyes and not to run if they come up to them,” wrote Bazin in the decision.
At the end of his decision, Bazin wrote about the responsibility of dog owners.
“Dogs are left, for all intents and purposes, at the mercy of their owners. They do not get to choose their owners. Many dogs would be better served by being pets of more responsible owners, yet they have no say in who owns them. It is their owners who carry the responsibility of ensuring that they are properly cared for, trained, and under control at all times. When the owners fail in their responsibilities in the training and control of their dogs and place the public at risk, it is the dog that suffers the severest of consequences.
“When there is a question requiring the balancing of public safety and pet ownership, without question public safety is the utmost priority.”
Carpenter was ordered to pay a $500 fine, and, if Carpenter doesn’t appeal the decision by Nov. 11, the dogs were ordered to be put down.