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Saskatoon judge clears way for death of dog involved in fatal attack

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A judge has cleared the way for a dog that fatally attacked another dog in Saskatoon to be killed.

A justice of the peace ordered the destruction of Anita Ahenakew's mixed-breed pitbull after she pleaded guilty under the Dangerous Animals Bylaw.

Ahenakew asked a King's Bench judge to overturn the decision but the appeal was dismissed on Nov. 9.

According to a court document, on Oct. 9, 2021, Ahenakew's dog — Gracie — seized another dog by the throat and shook her. The other dog, named Annie, died from her injuries.

Annie's owner, Bev Ashwin, spoke with CTV News last month

"I looked down and the pitbull had picked up Annie and shook her like a stuffed toy and she was dead," Ashwin said at the time. "It was a matter of seconds."

Ashwin expressed frustration over Ahenakew's appeal, feeling that it was only dragging on the process.

"The loss has ruined my life," Ashwin said, explaining she thinks about her dog's grisly death every day.

Ahenakew's appeal argued the justice of the peace did not adequately consider lesser alternatives to ending Gracie's life, such as a promise to never travel with the dog — instead leaving her at Ahenakew's Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation home.

Ahenakew also said the fact her dog could be muzzled and a chain link fence around her yard could be considered mitigating factors.

Her appeal also argued the justice of the peace should have considered the fact that Gracie had never attacked another dog before as a mitigating factor rather than a sign of potentially erratic behaviour.

The presiding King's Bench justice Grant Currie dismissed Ahenakew's appeal, finding no issues with the original ruling.

"The justice of the peace did consider such less severe options before concluding that destruction was necessary," Currie wrote in his decision.

While Currie's decision leaves Gracie's destruction order in place, he ruled she can not be killed within 30 days of his Nov. 9 decision to allow time in the event Ashwin is able to mount another appeal.

--With files from Keenan Sorokan 

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