By: Celia Carr- Assistant Editor News External
A seven-year-old girl is dead after being mauled by two dogs belonging to friends of her family near Oakbank, Manitoba.
According to the RCMP report, the girl was attacked just before 3:30 p.m. on March 16. She was rushed to the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg where she was pronounced dead.
The girl was at the home of family friends when she was attacked. The Springfield Animal Control seized two Alaskan malamute dogs shortly after the attack.
Dan Fryer, the animal control officer who took the two dogs, said the dogs have not been put down and have not been acting aggressively since being removed from their home.
“Right now we have them in a secure facility, and they will stay there until we get further direction,” said Fryer.
RCMP said they will not be releasing the name of the girl but did tell sources that she was from St. Andrews.
Kristin Nicholson lives next to the home where the dog owners lived and said she didn’t know of any other incidents where the three-year-old dogs, who are named Shadow and Bear, acted aggressively. They were understood to be friendly.
“They were out here with our kids all the time,” said Nicholson. “I never would have thought that they were capable of doing that.”
Nicholson did say that one of the dogs had recently gone missing but was found soon after.
“I think pretty much I’m still in shock, like it still really hasn’t hit home that that is what happened,” Nicholson said. “It’s unbelievable.”
She also said that the victim didn’t live in the home where she was attacked, but she was often left alone at her grandparents house. The little girl was there so often that she also got to know Nicholson’s kids.
“She’s been over here playing with our kids also. She came over one day and watched a movie, and she was there lots,” she said. “Lots of times [she was] playing with those dogs.”
RCMP are still not sure what triggered the dogs to attack the young girl.
“She was seven years old out having a good time playing with the dogs, and something went horribly wrong,” said Tara Steel, with RCMP media relations.
The head of the Winnipeg Humane Society said Alaskan malamutes are usually friendly dogs, but that any large dog should be under constant supervision when they’re around small children.
“Big dogs are of concern with small children,” said Bill McDonald. “It doesn’t matter the breed, whether it is an Alaskan malamute or any large breed dog from a collie to a German shepherd.”
McDonald said he’s only heard of children being attacked and mauled to death in the province by packs of dogs in remote First Nations communities.
“It’s usually the case of an aboriginal community with pack animals running at large,” said McDonald. “When you’re talking about a domesticated situation, this one is a bit shocking and tragic for the whole family.”
The RCMP report said there was adult supervision the day the attack happened, but they were gone for only a minute when the incident occurred.