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Old May 21st, 2002, 02:39 PM
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Police search for father of girl mauled by dog

Police search for father of girl mauled by dog
CTVNEWS.com Staff

Wed. Jan. 30 2002 7:14 AM

Ontario police are urging the father of a little girl who was mauled to death in a dog attack to come forward. Four-year-old Kyra Lee Sibthorpe was attacked on the weekend while visiting her father.

Police believe Andrew Sibthorpe, 30, disappeared because he has two outstanding arrest warrants against him. Police say Sibthorpe was last heard from just after the attack when he asked neighbours to call 911.

Court records indicate Sibthorpe is wanted on drug trafficking and mischief charges. Police say Sibthorpe owns a Rottweiler and was looking after another dog. But it's still not clear if both dogs were involved in the attack.

Investigators are also unsure if Kyra-lee was alone in her father's yard with the two dogs. Police want to find Sibthorpe to determine if he has any information about the death of his daughter

"The neighbours called 911 and the father left the residence prior to the arrival of emergency services,'' police said in a release. "There are warrants for the arrest of Mr. Sibthorpe...on unrelated matters.''

"This may be why he left before officers arrived,'' Const. Cathy Marchand said.

Kyra-Lee lived in a small community north of Barrie and was a student in junior kindergarten. A grief counselling team visited her school earlier this week to help the students and staff deal with the loss. Her funeral will be held this Friday.

The dog mauling, meanwhile, has renewed questions about how to prevent such attacks. Dog trainer Joe Rosen said the problem isn't dogs, but their owners.

"Any responsible dog owner knows if they put the proper training and time to work with the dog they're not going to have that problem," he said.

In Canada, there have been numerous attacks, in which children have been maimed or killed. Three years ago, Courtney Trempe was playing in her neighbour's yard, when a dog lunged at her throat and killed her.

A coroner's jury in the Trempe killing made three dozen recommendations, including setting up a national registry to track dangerous dogs and their owners, and requiring dog owners to take courses.

The only recommendations that have implemented are those about educating children that dogs can be dangerous.

Another approach has been to simply ban some breeds. A few Canadian municipalities have outlawed pit bulls. That's welcome news to Freda Jeffries, whose dog and children narrowly escaped an attack in a local park.

But even pit bulls and rotweillers can be taught to be gentle, say many experts. What they say should be banned is teaching any dog to attack.

"It's crazy," said Rosen. "We are still allowing people to train dogs to be aggressive, to be attack dogs or guard dogs."
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