A homeowner on a quiet street in Westwood awoke to find her yard looking like a crime scene Saturday, with fur and blood strewn across her driveway and a semi-devoured deer laying in the snow.
Darlene Van Ruiten said she was shocked to see the ravaged animal in her yard. Deer are known to congregate there year round, but this is the first time anything like this has happened, she said.
“These animals didn’t just chase a deer, and then the deer got away,” Van Ruiten said.
“This is an attack, and that’s what has me worried, with other small animals or children in the neighbourhood.”
“I have never seen anything like that,” she added, noting that she grew up in the area.
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Video of the incident captured by a Global News reporter shows two dogs, wearing LED collars, as they maul the deer on Van Ruiten’s property.
The reporter called 311 as the attack unfolded at around 8:45 p.m. Friday, concerned that the dogs would be a danger to others also. Because no person was in immediate danger, the matter was referred to animal services, the reporter was told.
Van Ruiten said she called the city Saturday morning to find out what to do and was told even though the killing happened on her property, animal services would not speak with her about it, since she was not the person who witnessed it.
The city’s 311 operator told Van Ruiten that, in keeping with city policy, she was responsible for cleaning up the mess, but a man with a truck did show up a short time later to collect the carcass.
Animal services officers attended that morning, after the deer had already been removed. They conducted a search of the area but did not find anything that would aid in finding the animals responsible.
They said even if they knew where the owners of the dogs lived, the only thing they could likely do would be to issue a fine if the animals were not licensed.
When asked on Monday what was being done about the attack, Leland Gordon, Chief Operation Officer for Winnipeg Animal Services said he had not been made aware of it.
“Let’s work together to try and figure out if this did occur, who are the owners of these dogs,” he said, “and if this occurred it’s important that the owners go ahead and report it.”
City bylaws require that dogs are kept in their own yards, or under the control of the owners when not on their property. The Animal Services website states
“Letting your pet run loose puts them and the community in danger…”
After calling the city Saturday, Van Ruiten alerted the Neighbourhood Watch, and Carol Cowles, co-chair of the watch for that section of Assinboine Avenue, sent out a notice to other residents.
Cowles said she received several emails from concerned citizens, including those with children worried about their kids walking to the bus stop or playing outside.
“They are concerned now about young children and the dangers that that may pose to them, but in addition to that, other dogs. We don’t have an answer. Whose dogs were they that did this?” Cowles said.
Cowles said many neighbours own dogs, but none could be identified as the ones responsible. She said many of those owners now wonder if their pets are safe in their own yards.
Van Ruiten speculated the dogs could well live in the wider area, or across the river in Charleswood. Not knowing where the dogs came from, or whether or not they will return, has shaken everyone’s peace of mind.
Van Ruiten said she hopes whoever owns the dogs will reach out, to give closure to the horrible ordeal and restore the neighbourhood’s sense of safety.
“I would like them to reach out. If by chance they noticed their dogs came home with blood … not to punish the dogs, but to keep the community safe, to come forward and help us understand.“
Anyone with information about the dogs involved is asked to call 311.