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Judge considers fate of 2 pit bulls after 2022 deadly attack in Calgary

Almost two years to the day after 86-year-old Betty Ann Williams was mauled to death in a dog attack, the owner of the pit bills appeared in court trying to keep them from being put down.

One of Denis Bagaric’s three American Staffordshire terriers has already been destroyed. His lawyer argued Tuesday the remaining two should be spared because there’s no proof they were involved.

“It’s a very tragic file, (but) we are not a court of emotions. We are a court of law,” Rabie Ahmed told Justice Bruce Fraser in the civil hearing.

Williams, also known as Rusty, was mauled in an alley on June 5, 2022, after the three dogs escaped a fenced and gated backyard.

The court heard that the woman’s wounds were grievous: multiple cuts and bruises to her head and neck. The vertebrae just below her skull fractured, as was the bone under her jaw. There were injuries to her jugular vein branches and carotid artery, bruises on her legs and cuts on her arms.

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Neighbour Nicola Opsal told the court she knew Williams for 25 years. She choked back tears as she recounted running to the alley that day when she heard a cry for help.

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“I saw some dogs and a person. They were going at the person. The dogs were around the body but two jumped toward me and were fighting each other,” she said.

Opsal said it wasn’t until she and her husband got close enough to the body that she realized it was Williams. She said Bagaric was dragging two of the dogs into his backyard.

Her husband and Bagaric then provided comfort to Williams while Opsal called 911.

Opsal admitted she didn’t see any of the dogs biting Williams.

“I did not see them physically attack the person because I wasn’t that close,” said Opsal. “But they were there and there were injuries.”

Click to play video: 'Report into EMS response to fatal Calgary dog attack released'

Report into EMS response to fatal Calgary dog attack released

City lawyer Ed Ring said there was enough evidence the other two dogs were a danger and had likely taken part in the attack to seek an order for destruction of the dogs.

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Fraser will deliver a ruling June 13.

Bagaric has already been fined $18,000 and prohibited from pet ownership for 15 years. He pleaded guilty to two city bylaw charges: an animal attacking a person causing severe injury and animals running at large.

The judge in that case said he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that all three dogs were involved in the attack.

The case sparked a separate independent review because it took 30 minutes for paramedics to respond to treat Williams.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta concluded the initial emergency call was incorrectly coded to indicate the attack was not life-threatening, leading to the response time becoming twice as long as it should have been.

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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