Nova Scotia

Pit bull mauling may result in charges

Nova Scotia RCMP will determine whether the owner of a pit bull that mauled a woman should be charged with criminal negligence.

Woman in stable condition in Halifax hospital

Tony Middleton, who found a woman with a pit bull at her throat, describes how police officers held the dog down. ((CBC))
Nova Scotia RCMP will determine whether the owner of a pit bull that mauled a woman should be charged with criminal negligence.

The 45-year-old woman was attacked Saturday afternoon in Yarmouth. She was rushed to hospital in serious condition.

On Monday, RCMP Cpl. Paul Pittman said the woman is in stable condition.

Tony Middleton, who arrived on the scene during the attack,  told CBC News he found the woman slumped against a wooden door with the pit bull, Zeke, at her throat.

"As I got halfway through the alley, I heard somebody hollering, 'Help me. Help me, please, help me.' As I approached further in the yard, I saw a young lady here and the dog was up on its hind legs," said Middleton.

While he ran for help, another passerby phoned 911.

"I ran across to the grocery store," said Middleton.

"I called over to the residents to get somebody to try to get a hold of the owner and let him know that the dog was attacking somebody out in the yard."

RCMP said two police officers in the area arrived quickly and wrestled the dog away from the woman. One officer held the pit bull and the other shot and killed it. Neither officer was hurt.

Middleton said he wasn't sure whether shooting the dog was necessary.

"I don't know if it was really necessary or not because the dog was pinned down on the ground. It probably would've been easier for them to just pick the dog up and throw him in that kennel," he said, gesturing toward a kennel on the property.

Cpl. Paul Pittman said RCMP are trying to determine whether the owner of the dog should be charged with criminal negligence. ((CBC))
Pittman said that while it depends on the situation, the woman's safety took precedence in this case.

"It was paramount that she needed medical attention and the officers really didn't have time to look at any other option," he said.

"For their safety and hers, that was the action that was taken."

RCMP said it appears the attack began in an apartment and continued outside.

There was blood on a small wooden deck in the backyard, some on gravel nearby and on the wooden door where the woman was found.

The owner of the dog, Gary Woods, said he wasn't home at the time, but nine-year-old Zeke and a second pit bull were inside.

Woods said he didn't know why the woman, a former tenant, walked into the apartment. He said she knew about the dogs.

There are two doors to get into the apartment. A sign on the lower one warns visitors to knock.

RCMP said police were called on an earlier occasion about a dog attacking someone in the building, but no charges were laid, and it's not known if it was the same dog.

The woman remains in serious condition at a Halifax hospital.

RCMP said a necropsy would be done to determine if the pit bull had any diseases.