Manslaughter charge for mother in baby's mauling
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, June 8, 2010 10:46PM EDT
A 17-year-old Quebec mother has been charged with manslaughter after a three-week-old baby girl was mauled to death by a husky dog.
The infant's 37-year-old grandmother had also been arrested but police now say she will not be charged.
The teen was charged during an appearance in youth court Tuesday afternoon, during which "she looked very pale, very tired," reported CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin.
Beauchemin said the baby's father and the teen's lawyer are both shocked she has been charged.
"(Her lawyer) says she is destroyed, that there was no urgency in laying this charge against her today," Beauchmin told CTV News Channel in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. "This is a very, very difficult time, she has already lost her baby, he says, and now is facing this charge."
The teen was released and is required to follow very strict conditions, Beauchemin said, which include being forbidden from caring for children under the age of 12.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 31.
Police say the baby was killed in a home in Saint-Barnabe-Sud, about 65 kilometres northeast of Montreal, Monday afternoon. When police arrived they found the lifeless child, two women, and the two husky dogs.
Surete du Quebec Sgt. Ronald McInnis told CTV.ca that two young families lived on the property. The 17-year-old mother's family lived in an apartment on the second floor, while the other family who owned the two dogs lived on the main floor. The 37-year-old grandmother was visiting the home to help her daughter.
According to the police investigation, the baby was strapped into a baby seat on the floor in the apartment while the mother and grandmother went outside for a cigarette. While they were outside, one of the dogs attacked and killed the infant.
The father of the child said the women were only "ten feet away."
The mother and grandmother were taken to hospital to be treated for shock. Both were arrested after they were released from the hospital.
The mother spent the night at the police station, Giroux said.
CTV Montreal spoke to a woman and her husband who share the property with the baby's parents. The woman said the three-year-old dogs were docile house pets who roamed freely but that had never attacked anyone.
Both dogs were taken away by animal control. The animals will be checked for rabies and other diseases and to determine which dog was involved in the attack. It's not yet clear whether the dogs will be put down.
The mother and father of the killed child own a dog, but it was locked up at the time of the attack.
Dr. Enid Stiles, a Montreal-area veterinarian, said fatal attacks by dogs are "extremely rare" in Canada.
She said small children should not be left alone with dogs.
"Responsible pet ownership and prevention of these problems is key -- you need to watch and supervise things at all time," she told CTV Montreal.