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The SPCA in St. John's wants the court's permission to put down this dog, arguing that it is dangerous and aggressive. ((CBC))

An eight-year-old Alaskan malamute named Girlie is at the heart of a court case in St. John's that pits the SPCA against the dog's owner.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asked a provincial court judge on Monday for permission to destroy the animal, arguing in court documents that it is dangerous and aggressive, is responsible for killing another dog and is a threat to people.

St. John's shelter director Debbie Powers said her group, which normally fights to protect animals, believes the move would be in the best interest of public safety.

"There are going to be a lot of wet eyes around here should we get this order," Powers told CBC News.

Powers said the SPCA seized the dog in October from the isolated area of Ferryland, 75 kilometres south of St. John's. It was living in a large plastic container used to transport fish.

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The SPCA says the dog it believes should be put down lived in this makeshift doghouse. ((CBC))

Another dog, which was older and blind, was found dead inside the same makeshift doghouse, and Powers believes Girlie killed it.

"I blame the owner," she said. "I honestly blame people if they don't put the time mostly into their animals. Socially, that animal needed interaction with people ... you live in total isolation on a chain — what are you learning? You are only learning to protect yourself."

The dog is owned by Gerald Clowe, who also owned the dog that died. The court documents said he is opposing the application to have Girlie put down.

Clowe moved to Fort McMurray a few years ago, but left instructions with someone else to feed and care for the animals.

CBC News was unable to reach Clowe for a comment on the court case.

Powers said she is worried that the dog, if not put down, will eventually hurt a human.

"If you take a child walking down the street with a puppy in its arms — this can happen very easily. I wouldn't want to be responsible for that child losing its face, losing its puppy … you could have someone torn up trying to protect their animal," she said.

The judge will make a decision on the case on May 14.