PONTEIX, Sask. - A judge in Saskatchewan has ordered five dogs be euthanized after they attacked a group of children earlier this year.
Robert Carpenter owned all five of the Labradors in the community of Ponteix, in southwest Saskatchewan, and argued that only one of the dogs was a biter and that the remaining four should be spared.
But Judge K.P. Bazin said in his sentencing decision that no evidence was provided for him to be confident the attack wouldn't happen again.
According to sentencing documents, two 13-year-old girls and a 14-year-old boy were walking down the street in Ponteix together in June when the dogs came at them.
Two of the children were bitten, with one of the girls suffering permanent scars.
Bazin convicted Carpenter of two counts of owning an animal that attacked a person and fined him $500.
"When the owners fail in their responsibilities in the training and control of their dogs and place the public at risk, it is the dog that suffers the severest of consequences," Bazin wrote.
"When there is a question requiring the balancing of public safety and pet ownership, without question public safety is the utmost priority."
The dogs will be destroyed if Carpenter doesn't appeal the decision by Nov. 11.
Court in Swift Current heard the dogs got out of Carpenters' backyard because a hinge was missing on the gate. Carpenter said he'd tried to buy a replacement hinge but couldn't find one.
The boy took off on his bike to try to lure the dogs away from the girls. The dogs followed and bit him on the leg, and he managed to escape into a friend's home.
The girls tried to get away but the dogs came back. One girl froze, while the other stepped back, and it's the second girl the dogs attacked.
She told court she tried to run but the dogs knocked her down and bit her arms and legs.
Bazin wrote that Carpenter seemed to believe the children provoked the attack.
"He had argued that by running away, (the girl) provoked the attack, as people should know not to look dogs in the eyes and not to run if they come up to them," Bazin said in the decision.
Bazin also wrote that Carpenter claimed that if the dogs were serious about hurting the teens, they could have done a lot more damage.
The girl told court she has pets, but after the attack she now fears dogs.
"Dogs are left, for all intents and purposes, at the mercy of their owners. They do not get to choose their owners," Bazin wrote.
"Many dogs would be better served by being pets of more responsible owners, yet they have no say in who owns them."