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Woman attacked by dogs died of heart attack PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Richard Green/   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 17:28

Updated Aug. 3, 2012: A woman found dead July 25 on the beach near Whitby on North Caicos died of a heart attack, police confirmed Aug. 3.

Initial indications suggested that Mary Craig, 48, had succumbed to injuries sustained during a suspected dog attack, police said.

An autopsy revealed that Craig died from "acute coronary artery thrombosis," or a heart attack. It also revealed that none of the dog bites sustained by Craig caused life-threatening injuries.

However, the pathologist’s report noted that "the exertion of trying to run from the dogs and/or to defend herself may have contributed to the heart attack."

While authorities awaited results of the autopsy, the Department of Agriculture trapped and euthanized 45 dogs between July 25-29, especially in the Whitby area, after a number of people were attacked by packs of wild, roaming dogs on the island.

North Caicos residents reportedly rounded up and killed a number of dogs suspected in attacks before an official effort began.

“Efforts are continuing to ensure that the feral/stray dog problem is brought under immediate control and restore the confidence of residents going about their normal activities,” the Department of Agriculture said in a July 30 press statement.

“The numbers of captured animals would have been higher but for traps being tampered with by residents who released 10 wild dogs. The department is strongly urging residents not to tamper with the traps as this defeats the intended purpose of controlling the stray dogs’ populations in the various settlements. The local police will assist us in precluding such behaviour.”

The department said it would continue a prolonged, continuous and routine trapping programme across the family islands and continue its collaboration with the spay and neuter efforts of the Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The TCSPCA said it assisted in the last successful organized trapping and euthanization on Providenciales that ended in 2003, but that there has been no significant animal control since then.

“Added to this was the importation of breeded dogs, like the pit bull, who were allowed into the country unneutered for the purpose of breeding them for commercial gain,” the TCSPCA said in a statement. “These animals, along with other non-indigenous dogs, have been allowed to breed with our local potcakes changing not only their physical appearance but also their behavior.”

“No matter how many dogs are euthanized, unless the attitude of people in respect to owning a dog changes, litters of unwanted puppies will mature into breeding packs of wild dogs. The only answer is a three-pronged approach: 1) educate about responsible pet ownership, 2) run a year round professional trapping program and most importantly 3) spay and neuter all pets.”

“It is time for the TCI government to bring in professional animal control officers to set up an effective animal control unit which would train local people on every island.

“The TCSPCA has submitted a project document to government on setting up such a unit and is ready and able to assist government in this endeavor.”

Government said the country’s dog ordinance stipulates that any dog over three months old must be licensed and spayed or neutered. It also stipulates that an owner of a house should not have more than three dogs on their property.

“Given some of the inadequacies of the existing legislation the new Animal Health Bill (which deals with biosecurity measures) will address the illegal importation of banned breeds,” the Department of Agriculture said.


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