The RCMP and Crown prosecutors are considering charges in the case of a four-year-old boy who was mauled to death by three Rottweiler dogs in the backyard of his rural New Brunswick home.
Four-year-old James Waddell was killed earlier this month when he wandered into the yard by himself and was torn to pieces in an attack that has left investigators traumatized and bewildered by its ferocity.
Sgt.-Maj. Bob Gallup of the Hampton RCMP said police, prosecutors and the coroner met Wednesday to weigh the evidence in the case, but still have questions that need answers.
``It will take some more consultation,'' Gallup said. ``Hopefully, there will be a decision within the next week.''
Gallup said autopsies on the three dogs that did the killing and a fourth that was not part of the attack but was destroyed as well, have determined the animals were healthy and not suffering from rabies.
Gallup said none of the dogs was neutered. Two of the dogs involved in the attack were male, the third was a female and the fourth dog locked on a deck of the house was a female in heat.
``I feel that the fact the female was in heat played a part in the attack,'' Gallup said.
``It would more than likely raise the level of excitement in the animals and that could lead to this kind of pack mentality. One animal behaviourist called it the `avalanche effect' where they start feeding off their own energy and become progressively more aggressive.''
Gallup said the child's family is still in shock.
``They're having a tough time,'' he said.
The little boy died at the scene. His body was discovered by his father and a friend who were working in the basement when the attack happened in the backyard at the home on the Kingston Peninsula, near Saint John, N.B.
The three dogs involved in the attack belong to the father's friend, who was staying at the Waddell home after returning to New Brunswick from Alberta.
The fourth Rottweiler was owned by the Waddells.
Gallup would not say who police are considering charging, or the nature of the charges.
He said police and prosecutors have been studying other cases across North America. He said charges are common in dog attacks, but they depend on the evidence and the circumstances.
Gallup said police have received many calls from members of the public concerning the attack.
``We've had people calling and telling us the laws should be changed; people should be charged and people should be made accountable for the actions of their pets.
``Other people have called and said, `don't judge all dogs by one breed'.''
The attack has reignited debate over whether Canadian municipalities should limit powerful breeds like Rottweilers and pit bulls, which continue to make headlines because of bloody and sometimes deadly attacks.
Just days after the Waddell killing, a bulldog bit a five-year-old boy in Fredericton and seriously injured him.
The dog has been destroyed. The child is recovering in hospital.
Andy Wells, the mayor of St. John's, said this week he believes certain breeds such as Rottweilers and pit bulls, should be banned from the city.
Gallup said his research into dog attacks shows that all kinds of dogs have been involved in maulings and killings, including such family favourites as beagles and retrievers.
The police officer said he was shocked to discover that even a tiny Yorkshire terrier was once involved in a fatal attack. Gallup owns a Yorkshire terrier.
``It's very certain that you must be careful of your own family pet,'' he said.
``You might play with it, pull its ears, rub its tummy but one of these times blowing in its face might set it off and they might just become aggressive and bite.''
'Research into dog attacks shows that all kinds of dogs have been involved in maulings and killings, including such family favourites as beagles and retrievers.... even a tiny Yorkshire terrier was once involved in a fatal attack...' [Atlantic News] One golden rule remains constant: never leave a small child (or children) unsupervised with a dog, period. (even Pomeranians have attacked and killed children... )
Isn't that sad? i just came across this...they say that even the widely known family faves can do this, by why don't we hear about them attacking more than dogs like rottis and pitbulls? I hate it when this happens..