'We lost a family member,' says owner of attacked dog in Lively

A Lively family is mourning the loss of its dog, Tonka, who was attacked by two neighbouring dogs on Wednesday morning. Tonka's injuries were so severe, the family chose to put him down.

Dog dies after second attack by the same two dogs

Kayla Manninen holds up her deceased dog's collar with her mother, Terry Matthews (left). The eight-year-old dog died after being attacked by two other neighbourhood dogs on Wednesday. They have started a petition asking for Sudbury to change its bylaws. (Samantha Samson/CBC News)

The area rug on Terry Matthews' living room floor is gone. She says she threw it out because it was stained with her dog Tonka's blood.

"My husband couldn't even look at it," Matthews says. "He said to get that out because it was full of blood."

Matthews's dog was attacked on her Lively property by two other neighbourhood dogs on Wednesday morning. His injuries were so severe that the family chose to put him down that night.

"We lost a family member," Matthews says of the eight-year-old dog. "Some people say it's just a dog, but you want your dog until he's old, not because somebody else's dog ripped him apart and you had to make that choice to end his life."

Tonka was an eight-year-old norwegian elkhound. He was attacked by two other neighbourhood dogs last week. Tonka's injuries were so severe, his family chose to put him down. (Supplied)

Ripping, not biting

Matthews says the attack happened shortly after she let Tonka outside, tied up, to relieve himself.  When she heard whimpering five minutes later, Matthews says she assumed Tonka wanted to be let inside again.

When she walked outside, Matthews says she saw her dog being pinned down by two large dogs.

"I grabbed my shovel and I was trying to shoo them off," Matthews says. "They weren't biting, they were ripping off skin and hair."

She was eventually able to move the dogs off long enough to grab Tonka and bring him inside.

"I had blood in my house from one end to the next," Matthews says.

Second attack since summer

The two dogs in question have been violent before. Last summer, they attacked Tonka on Matthews' property. Matthews had to intervene in that attack, too. Tonka escaped with severe injuries.

City bylaw services confirm the two dogs were involved in both instances. The city gave the dogs' owner a ticket in the summer, but the dogs weren't taken from the home.

Matthews's daughter, Kayla Manninen, says she grew up with Tonka. Manninen says she was at work when her dad called her with the bad news.

"I think I was more angry because I knew what had happened, and that this wasn't the first time," Manninen says. "That this happened to my dog was the worst, but I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone else either."

'Weak link' in the bylaw system

According to the city, a call came in to 3-1-1 just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, reporting the attack. But officers didn't show up to Matthews' home until around 4 p.m. that day.

Brendan Adair is the manager of security and bylaw services for the city of Greater Sudbury. He says the officer assigned to the case had previous animal control experience, but he didn't start work that day until 2 p.m. No one called Matthews back to let her know about the delay, according to Adair.

"We felt it best he be the lead on this investigation, and we did so with the belief that there was no immediate level of threat that we would need to assign someone to get there before the afternoon shift started," Adair says.

But that response time is unacceptable to some.

"I think there's some type of weak link for the bylaw in Sudbury, especially when it comes to animal control," Kathy MacLean says. She lives a few doors down from Matthews and witnessed the summer attack on Tonka.

"This was such a bad episode yesterday, and it took them six hours to come. So something has to be done there."

'If you love your pets, be responsible'

Bylaw services say the owner has received two vicious dog notices for the animals since the attack and the dogs are still in possession of the owner. Because it's an ongoing investigation, bylaw services hasn't issued any tickets yet. ​

Matthews and her daughter say they're frustrated with the city and the owner of the dogs.

"Our law enforcement needs to be stricter with people who own animals," Matthews says. "If you love your pets, be responsible, keep them in your yard, and don't make excuses why they're getting away." ​

CBC News has made several attempts to contact the owners, but has yet to receive a response.