7-year-old girl dies after being mauled by dogs: RCMP
Published Monday, March 17, 2014 9:37AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:39PM CST
A seven-year-old girl from the RM of St Andrews has died after she was mauled by two dogs. RCMP confirm the girl was attacked outside of a home in the RM of Springfield by two Alaskan malamutes Sunday afternoon. She was pronounced dead at hospital.
Police say she was with her family visiting friends and was familiar with the dogs.
"Two Alaskan malamute dogs were seized and are being held by RM of Springfield animal control while the investigation continues," RCMP spokeswoman Tara Seel said Monday. "It should be noted that the dogs were known to the deceased. This was not a random attack."
RCMP can't say what triggered the attack but stress the girl was being supervised by an adult at the time, although it doesn't appear anyone witnessed the mauling, Seel said. The girl's name and exact cause of death were not being released, Seel said.
"This is just a tragedy all around and you never like to hear about this type of thing. You feel for everyone involved," said Seel.
The dogs have been seized by RM of Springfield Animal Control while the investigation continues. Charges are not being ruled out.
Dick Vlaming, fire chief for the RM of Springfield, said the fire service didn't get called in on Sunday, but one of his volunteers was driving home when he noticed a commotion on the rural property.
He stopped to see if he could help, but by then it was too late, Vlaming said. The girl had already been transported to hospital and RCMP were on the scene.
The community is shaken, Vlaming said. "It's terrible. It's something you don't wish on anybody. It's terrible for the family and for the people that responded," he said.
"We just feel for the family. That's something nobody wants to go through or should go through."
On its Facebook page, Rural Animal Management Services said it wouldn't release any information.
"There will be no press release or casual discussion from us surrounding today's tragic events," stated a post from Sunday evening. "Our thoughts go out to all those impacted by this terrible incident."
Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society, said malamutes are traditionally sled dogs that can weigh anywhere between 36 and 45 kilograms. They are generally known as a friendly breed, but he said there have been cases where malamutes have fatally attacked children before.
The challenge for police will be to figure out what set the dogs off in this case, McDonald suggested.
"Any large dog -- be it a collie or a golden retriever -- and young people, they have to be monitored," he said. "When you've got a seven-year-old and probably in the range of 150 to 200 pounds of dog that's mad, these are the tragic results."
- With files from The Canadian Press