Saturday, 15 December 2018
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Toddler recovering from dog attack on farm which killed grandmother; investigation continues

A vehicle leaves a rural property near Langdon east of Calgary Sunday morning September 16, 2018 that was the scene of a fatal dog attack on Saturday evening. Gavin Young / Postmedia

As an investigation into a fatal dog attack continued Monday, a source familiar with the incident told Postmedia the woman killed by her canine on a farm north of Langdon was Lisa Lloyd.

Lloyd, 50, died at her home after defending her two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter from her boxer/pit bull cross. The child was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and as of Monday evening RCMP were unable to provide any updates on her condition.

The dog, along with a second dog in the home, are currently in quarantine in Calgary as the investigation continues. At the end of this period the owners will have the option of destroying the dog or the authorities could step in and order it euthanized, said Staff Sgt. John Spaans.

It’s “extremely rare” for a dog to display enough aggression that it actually kills someone, said Cat Harbord, founder of Impawsible Possible Inc., which specializes in dog training and behaviour modification. Harbord said of the thousands of dogs she’s worked with, only three would be classified as extremely aggressive.

As for what might cause a dog to be so aggressive, Harbord said there are many things to consider, including the health of the animal, the way it was trained, and its living environment. But regardless of these factors, Harbord said unless the dog has a brain-based illness, it would never be this aggressive out of the blue.

“There’s always signs; even if the behaviour is suppressed, we can actually see the suppressed behaviour seeping out from the dog,” she said.

J.C. St-Louis — a Calgary dog trainer and a former police dog handler — agrees that there’s always some level of escalation when it comes to a dog attack.

“I get people calling me saying their dog bit someone for no reason and then I talk to them and I go, ‘There’s all kinds of reasons, you just didn’t know.’”

St-Louis suspects this particular attack was one of redirected aggression.

“If the dog is going after the child and a woman tries to interfere and demands the dog stops, that’s when you get a lot of redirect and the dog says ‘no I don’t think so,’” he said.

“I suspect that’s what happened, except the dog went overboard. If it was a border collie you might have had several bites on the arms, on the hands and leg, but with a pit bull they’re going to go all out and they have powerful jaws.”

St-Louis said small children who fall down and scream can trigger some dogs to start nipping or attacking.

And while Harbord said the takeaway from this incident shouldn’t be that all pit bulls are dangerous (she said the most aggressive dogs she’s worked with aren’t pit bulls), St-Louis said people who own pit bulls or other power breeds need to be educated about their dog.

The severity of dog bites are often assessed using the Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale, said Harbord, with level six — bite causing death — the most severe. According to the scale, a dog who kills is “extremely dangerous” and “simply not safe around people,” and the recommendation is euthanasia.

St-Louis said there’s no question that the dog who killed Lloyd should be euthanized.

“This dog knows how to bite at a killing level,” he said.

“So if in fact there is no history and the dog starts at (killing level), it’s an extremely dangerous dog. When is it going to trigger again and who wants to be there when it triggers?”

With files from Bill Kaufmann 

Source: https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/toddler-recovering-from-dog-attack-on-farm-which-killed-grandmother-investigation-continues

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