No charges laid after dog attack results in death of 86-year-old Calgary woman

Police said the incident happened 1500 block of 21st Avenue N.W. Global News

Charges will not be laid in response to a fatal dog attack in Calgary in June.

At around 2 p.m. on June 5, emergency responders were called to the 1500 block of 21 Avenue N.W. for reports of an 86-year-old woman being attacked by three dogs. EMS took the woman to hospital in life-threatening condition, where she died soon after.

Betty Ann Williams, also known as “Rusty,” was later identified as the victim.

Calgary police conducted a criminal investigation, including interviews with witnesses, and consulted two Crown Prosecutors on charges.

“It was determined that the necessary elements to support laying charges for criminal negligence causing death against the owners of the dogs, were not met in relation to this incident,” a CPS release said Tuesday afternoon.

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Staff Sgt. Travis Baker said while the event was tragic, the laying of charges required elements within the Criminal Code to be met.

“During our investigation, we found the owners of the dogs took reasonable precautions in securing the animals within their property by using a locked gate. There is no way to prove the owners had knowledge the dogs would escape, as they had no history of previously escaping from this residence. In addition, there was no sign of malicious intent on behalf of the dog owners,” Baker said in a statement.

“Our investigators also spoke to several witnesses in the neighbourhood, and their interactions with the dogs have been positive. There has been no history of any of the three dogs attacking a person.”

Baker said the Crown Prosecutor’s office agreed with the CPS assessment that the Criminal Code elements were not met in this incident, “and therefore, we are unable to lay criminal charges.”

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CPS noted the dog owners were charged under the city’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw in July:

  • Three offenses under Section 22(9) of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw for an animal attack on a person causing severe injury.
  • Three offenses under Section 22(6) of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw for an animal attack to a person.
  • Three offenses under Section 22(5) of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw for an animal bite to a person.
  • Three offenses under Section 11(1) of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw for an animal running at large.

Calgary police also noted they are investigating allegations of fraud related to a crowdfunding page created for the victim’s funeral expenses, but declined comment because it’s an ongoing investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information about the crowdfunding to contact the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers.


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