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Autopsy confirms boy attacked by dogs in Edmonton home died from bite

EDMONTON — An autopsy has confirmed an 11-year-old boy attacked by two dogs in an Edmonton home died from a bite, police said Thursday

They also said the two large dogs belong to a roommate of the boy's father, whom the child was visiting when the attack happened Monday. 

Officers were called to the quiet southern suburb where they found the dogs and the boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Both animals were seized, and they remain in the custody of the city's Animal Care and Control unit.

Police said Thursday the medical examiner continues to investigate the manner of death but did not say whether the dogs’ owner would be charged. The medical examiner can classify manner of death as natural, accidental, homicide, suicide or undetermined.

Beware of Dog signs were posted at the home, and neighbours have said the animals were a danger and a nuisance. 

The city has said animal control was called about two previous attacks at the home. There have also been numerous barking complaints in the past year.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has said the city would review previous calls and complaints about the dogs and see if there were any gaps in response.

The CEO of the Edmonton Humane Society said it's crucial dog owners act quickly if they see aggressive behaviour. 

"The earlier you can nip these behaviours in the bud, the absolute better," Liza Sunley said Thursday. 

Responsible pet ownership is paramount, she said. People may feel embarrassed by their animal's actions but there are many groups, veterinarians and behavioural specialists that want to help, Sunley said. 

Pet owners should ensure to spay and neuter animals to help with behaviour. They also need to make sure dogs are trained and socialized from a young age.Even as the animal ages, owners should stay aware of behavioural changes and respond accordingly, Sunley said.

Other precautions could also be taken, especially if an animal is being introduced to a new person or put in stressful situations.

People can keep a dog leashed or muzzled, even inside. A dog can also be placed in a crate or a separate room if someone new or unfamiliar is at the home. This is especially important with children, Sunley said.

"Adult supervision with a dog is so important when there are children or vulnerable individuals nearby."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2024.  

The Canadian Press

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