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Lively family reeling after family dog attacked and killed by two other dogs

Pup was on a leash outside the home when two unleashed canines attacked him -- and it wasn't the first time
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A Lively woman and her family are badly shaken after their beloved family dog was attacked Wednesday morning and didn't survive.

To make matters worse, this was the second time the two dogs attacked Tonka, an eight-year-old purebred norwegian elkhound. He survived the first time, but his injuries were so severe, the vet had to put him down Wednesday.

Terry Matthews, the dog's owner, said she let Tonka out in the morning around 10 to do his business. She tied him to his leash and went back inside to have her morning coffee. She heard him whimpering, and thought he just wanted to come back inside.

"But it wasn't that at all,” Matthews said. “Two dogs were on him, ripping him apart.

"I was screaming, of course. The neighbours behind me even heard me. I tried to get the dogs to go away, screaming 'Get off of him! Get off of him!' Because they had him pinned to the ground. These dogs are huge."

The husky and bull mastiff mix that killed Tonka are often running around off their leash, Matthews said. But they hadn't had any problems since the July incident, when Tonka was attacked and badly bitten.

She ran outside to try and save him Wednesday, and began screaming at the attacking dogs.

"They finally backed off a little bit,” she said. “My dog was tied outside -- he wasn't running loose -- and so I was able to grab his chain and get him inside the house. Then the dogs took off."

She first called the police, who told her animal control isn't their area, so she called the city and animal control. A bylaw enforcement officer arrived about six hours later.

"It wasn't a very good response, actually," Matthews said. "They took a statement from me, asking me what happened ... They said they've dealt with these people before. Like I said, I had an incident back in July, too."

Sudbury.com sent a Facebook message to the owner of the dogs, but she hasn't replied.

After the last attack, Matthews said the dogs' owner faced four charges, but the animals were returned to her. Tonka, meanwhile, got an infection from the bite and suffered from fever and other problems for months.

"She told me the last time that she knows huskies are aggressive with other male dogs,” Matthews said. “Well if she knew that, you have to make sure your dog is not going to be at large. What if this was a child?"

As well as being angry, Matthews said she and her family are distraught over the death of their beloved Tonka.

"It's very, very devastating to our family,” she said. “My daughter doesn't even live at home, and she's a mess, too. An absolute mess. She ended up leaving work early today. Her boss told her to go home."

She's calling for changes to the way animal control issues are handled. First off, she can't understand why the dogs were returned to the owner after the first attack.

"They need to surrender their dogs, for one,” Matthews said. "The last time this happened, they got their dogs back. Why?

“And these dogs should be euthanized because they're dangerous. And those owners should also never be allowed to own another dog, because they're too irresponsible. So they definitely need tougher laws. Definitely. You got to be a responsible pet owner."

In the meantime, she's hoping that the dogs will be seized and no other animal will fall victim to what Tonka endured.

"The bylaw officer told me if I see those dogs running around again, to keep calling 311 back,” Matthews said. “But I don't know why nobody was out looking for these dogs today. I don't know."


Darren MacDonald

About the Author: Darren MacDonald

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