red deer advocate, april 29, 2015

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April 29, 2015 edition of the Red Deer Advocate

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  • Red Deer AdvocateWEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2015

    Your trusted local news authority www.reddeeradvocate.com

    Four sectionsAlberta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A3Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . B1-B3Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A5Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . D1-D4Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D5Entertainment . . . . . . . . C7,C8Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B4-B6

    INDEX

    PLEASE RECYCLE

    Auditor takes aim at Ottawa

    The quality of health care in remote First Nations is sorely lacking, the federal auditor general reported Tuesday.

    Story on PAGE A5FORECAST ON A2

    WEATHER 60% showers. High 10. Low 1.

    Rampage in Rocky

    Contributed photo

    Theresa Kokesch, 86, and her daughters injured golden lab, Shelly. Kokesch was out for her daily walk when she encountered two pit bulls, which started dragging Shelly into the bush.

    Two women one an 86-year-old senior, the other a 27-year-old jogger fought desperately with every-thing they had to save their dogs from separate vicious pit bull attacks along a walk-ing path in Rocky Mountain House on Monday.

    I was hollering like a mad banshee. Get away! Go home! Stay away! and I kept swing-ing this big stick, 86-year-old Theresa Kokesch told me on Tuesday.

    Likewise, I started scream-ing as loud as I could cause I didnt know what to do, said Jenna Ellefson, 27.

    If it werent for a number of Good Samaritans coming to their rescue, the women be-lieve the two attacks by loose, marauding dogs could have

    been worse.The owners of the injured dogs now face hundreds

    of dollars in veterinarian bills.The incidents began when Ellefson was out on

    for a jog with her dog Dakota on the Loop, a popular five-km trail in Rocky.

    Ellefson had Dakota, a five-year-old Belgian shep-herd cross, on a leash. She heard other dogs vicious-ly barking at another dog on other side of the fence.

    This isnt good, she decided, and turned around, but suddenly dogs that she describes as three pit bulls charged toward her and Dakota.

    At this time, Im terrified. I know whats going to happen and they attacked my dog, and all this bark-ing, growling and biting her, and shes yelping and theyre like literally dragging her away from me.

    I looked around and found a stick and was hitting one of the dogs that had Dakota around the neck.

    The stick was like breaking on (the attacking dogs) back. So I had no stick left so I start kicking them cause Im thinking theyre going to kill her. Theres three of them.

    I kicked so much that I could hardly even kick anymore because I was so exhausted.

    They werent letting go. ... It was like I was a fly or something, so Im just screaming as loud as I pos-sible can.

    Three high school students showed up, as did two men, one of whom saw what was happening as he drove by on the highway. He stopped his white van and ran to help. One of the students called 911.

    Finally we got the dogs off. ... It took all those people kicking and hitting them.

    But it wasnt quite over. One of the attacking dogs came back.

    We had to beat him off again.At that point I just realized holy crap what just

    happened to me and I just burst into tears. ...Theres kids and babies and strollers and fami-

    lies on (the Loop). Like you wouldnt think that it wasnt safe, said Ellefson.

    Im alive, Im safeBY PAUL COWLEYADVOCATE STAFF

    A Red Deer woman caught in the earthquake in Nepal is safe.

    Beverly Williams was able to contact her longtime part-ner Michael Dawe early on Tuesday morning that she is OK.

    We dont have any de-tails, said Dawe on Tuesday morning. All we did was got an email that said, Im alive, Im safe.

    Dawe, who is running as a Liberal and Green candidate in Red Deer North, said he was driving to Tuesday morn-ings election forum at the Golden Circle when he got a

    phone call from the wife of Beverlys business part-ner, who is in Kathmandu, confirming the news.

    Im not sure where she is, but she was not killed or badly injured in the earthquake and thats all I needed to know.

    In a brief Facebook post, she wrote: Hello ev-eryone. Finally on line for one second. I was in the earthquake and it was horrible. Write later.

    Dawe and other family and friends had been anx-iously waiting word since the massive quake shook Nepal on Saturday, killing more than 5,000 and injur-ing at least 10,000.

    I was watching CNN at one oclock in the morn-ing on Friday night and early Saturday morning and they said there was a big earthquake and I realized thats exactly where she was.

    But for days he had no word, hoping the silence was due to chaotic communications rather than bad news.

    We hoped for the best, he said.Beverly Williams

    THREE PIT BULLS ATTACK TWO DOGS ON POPULAR WALKING PATH

    MARY-ANNBARR

    BARRSIDE

    Please see RAMPAGE on Page A2

    BEVERLY WILLIAMS MANAGES TO CONTACT PARTNER

    Please see WILLIAMS on Page A2

    Red Deerians feeling less safe

    BY CRYSTAL RHYNO

    ADVOCATE STAFF

    Red Deerians feel less safe in the city than they did four years ago, according to the citys 2015 Per-ceptions of Crime Survey.

    The city released details from the survey that polled 475 residents about their feelings on safety and policing this week.

    Respondents were polled on safety overall, neigh-bourhoods, downtown Red Deer and crime concerns. The poll was conducted by phone and online in January. The last safety perception survey was con-ducted in 2011.

    On the subject of violent crime in neighbour-hoods, 66 per cent of respondents felt extremely safe or very safe, compared to 79 per cent in 2011.

    Please see SURVEY on Page A2

    CRIME SURVEY

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    RAMPAGE: These dogs were out to kill

    Two of the dogs, one brown, one black, then car-ried on down the path. And at about 11:15 a.m., they encountered Theresa Kokesch, who was out for her daily walk with Shelly, her daughter Audrey Kokeschs six-year-old golden Labrador, on a leash.

    When the dogs began to attack the lab, Theresa was unable to pull them off. She also tried to kick them. They started dragging Shelly into the bush.

    They did leave once but they came right back again and I finally picked up this big honking branch and thats what finally drove them away.

    But they just stood apart until help came down the path. There were people that came finally and helped me.

    One of the people who came to help was a woman who was pushing a handicapped girl in a wheelchair. She started beating the two dogs with a stick as well. She helped keep them at bay so that Theresa could grab Shelly.

    Shelly ... kind of crawled to me and she was all bleeding with her leg hanging ... I was just almost hysterical. She asked a man to call her daughter. The man and the high school students helped carry Shelly to Audreys car so she could be taken to the vet.

    Audrey said her mother is visually impaired. Shes kind of like Mr. Magoo. Everybody knows her. ... Like shes 90 pounds, 86, four-foot nothing.

    Right now I am sore and tired, said Theresa.You keep reliving the incident. What should I

    have done? What did I do or what didnt I do that I should have, and I keep seeing those two dogs chew-ing away at Shelly and not being able to pull them off. I tried that. I tried kicking, said Theresa.

    Im sorry to say that I dont like (pit bulls) very much because of the way they behaved and treated Shelly and me. I have heard through the years Oh thats not true. Theyre nice dogs. All of a sudden, you know, they were right on her.

    They just went at her right away. Just so vicious. The throat area and her leg is just gone more or less. They pulled the muscle and skin right of the bone. No I dont like them very much at all, Theresa said, who was taken to the hospital to be checked out and has soft-tissue injuries.

    Police reports have been filed. Rocky Mountain House RCMP did not want to comment, referring me

    instead to Alberta Animal Services, which is con-tracted by the town.

    Alberta Animal Services did not return my phone call before deadline.

    However, Todd Becker, Town of Rocky chief ad-ministrative officer, said two of the pit bulls were captured and are now being assessed. The other is believed to have made it back to its owner in Rocky, where it may still be.

    As a town, our primary responsibility is to en-sure the citizens and visitors of Rocky Mountain House are safe. Obviously when people and animals are subject to an attack ... I certainly have a serious concern about that.

    This is of course a priority of theirs (enforce-ment team) and they will be continuing on with the investigation and ... any actions based on that inves-tigation needs to be moved forward expediently as possible.

    In this case there are several witnesses who have come forward to provide statements.

    Meanwhile, Ellefsons vet bill was initially $663 and is expected to rise.