Emotions and tensions were running high during an appeal hearing at city hall over the fate of two dogs, following an attack last month on a child in a public alleyway.

The Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks voted unanimously to uphold the “exceptionally dangerous” classification for two dogs, meaning they will be humanely euthanized.

The dogs’ owner, Kingsley Heart, appealed the original decision.

After a tense hearing Wednesday morning at city hall involving the victim’s family and the family of the dogs’ owner, committee members ultimately agreed to uphold the recommendation of Animal Services. 

In the original decision dated May 2, City of Winnipeg Animal Services said on April 23 two dogs escaped a yard through an open rear gate.

Animal Services determined both dogs attacked a young girl, causing significant injuries. 

The victim’s father, Gregory Ducharme, who was walking with his daughter when the attack occurred told the committee he punched one of the dogs as it was latched on to his daughter’s face. 

His daughter suffered large puncture wounds, lacerations to her head, face, ears, armpit and chest. She required multiple surgeries.

“As a result of representations made to me, it is my finding that the subject dogs Ronnie and Reggie are declared exceptionally dangerous and humanely euthanized,” wrote Animal Services Agency chief operating officer Leland Gordon. “This was an exceptionally brutal and sustained attack resulting in significant injuries on a child.”

The owners indicated the dogs are a mix of American bulldog and border collie. However, Animal Services said the dogs appear to have some characteristics of the American pit bull terrier and did not predominantly conform to breed standards under the City of Winnipeg’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw.

Gordon told the committee the decision to euthanize the dogs isn’t an easy one but was made to try and protect the entire community. 

“It’s very hard for us to euthanize these dogs,” said Gordon.