By Craig Westcott
September 22, 2023
Some residents of Holyrood are frustrated by a lack of action on the part of the town council and the RCMP over roaming pit bulls in the Woodford’s Station area.
After the latest report on Tuesday that two pit bulls killed a cat, the matter was raised at council on Tuesday evening by public safety committee chairman Bruce King. He urged anyone with a concern to contact the RCMP.
“There are people up there now (in the Woodford’s Station area) that are scared to even go out in the daytime walking, whether you’ve got your dog with you, or whatever,” said King. “People are scared to even walk. The thing is they have to report it to the RCMP… But if you want something done about it, you’ve got to file a complaint with the RCMP. The RCMP made a commitment to us that they will look into these things and they will try to resolve them. But until you go to the RCMP and file a report, there’s not much they can do. It’s as simple as that. You can talk about it as much as you want on social media, but it’s not going to change anything.”
But going to the RCMP is just what at least two Holyrood residents say they have done.
Alicia Lee Crawley said her four-year-old cat Grayson, which had only one eye, was the family pet that was brutally mauled and killed by two pit bulls on Tuesday.
“My mother saw them coming and tried to drive them off,” she said.
But the dogs came back, entered the yard, dragged the cat away and bit it to death in the street.
By the time Crawley arrived, it was too late. All she could do was wrap her bloodied dead animal in a blanket.
Crawley said residents in the area have been afraid for months because of the two or three pit bulls that are roaming the area.
“The council said there is nothing they can do unless the dogs attack somebody,” said Crawley.
She noted that prior to this the dogs killed another cat after tearing through the boards of a garage to get at it.
Crawley’s mom, Helen Crawley, made a statement about the killing of her daughter’s cat to the RCMP.
“They just came in the yard and went off with her,” said Helen of the two pit bulls. “They’re just roaming around the neighbourhood.”
When she went up the road to confront the owner of the pit bulls about the killing, she added, there were two more pit bulls staring out from his window. Crawley said the man told her he tries to keep the animals penned in his yard, but they escape.
“We can’t walk around up here anymore because we’re afraid,” said Helen. “We’re scared to death to go outside… They should be put down. They’re huge and their teeth are so big. Years ago, when an animal got the taste of blood from killing another animal they had to be put down. I don’t know why they don’t do that now.”
Lisa Phelan, who lives in the same neighbourhood, says people in the area feel terrorized.
“I’ve called the Town of Holyrood for months, the RCMP for months crying and begging them to do something,” said Phelan. “I’ve been laughed at over this.”
Phelan said the first cat that was killed was actually owned by the man who owns the pit bulls.
Phelan said the situation is even affecting her employment. “I am a cat influencer online and I can’t even make content because I can’t go outside,” she explained. “I told the Town that if I can’t make content, I can’t make money, but they don’t seem to understand that influencers are a real thing and this is my job. So, my job is being affected by these pit bulls.”
Phelan’s handle on tiktok is NewfieMeow where she has over 121,000 followers. She was the owner of the much loved and photographed feline named Grumpy Beans.
The man whom people in the area say is the owner of the pit bulls does not have a listing in the telephone book and could not be reached for comment.
The RCMP’s public relations officer, Cpl. Jolene Garland, confirmed the Holyrood detachment is aware of the complaints.
“I can confirm Holyrood RCMP is currently investigating reports of an untethered dog,” said Garland. “The investigation is ongoing. As the investigation is active without charges laid, I cannot confirm further details at this time… Under the Animal Health and Protection Act, it is an offence to have an untethered dog. Should evidence exist, this could be a charge that may be considered.”
In England last week, the government announced plans to ban the American XL Bully by Christmas. The XL Bully is a pit bull cross breed responsible for a dozen or so attacks on people and even deaths in the United Kingdom in the past two years with the latest fatality being that of a 52-year-old man last week who was attacked by two of the animals. Police arrested the 30-year-old owner on suspicion of manslaughter for “having dogs dangerously out of control.” The police “had spoken to the dog owner on two previous occasions after being called to incidents in the area,” the BBC reported.
The weekend before in Britain, an American XL Bully attacked an 11-year-old girl, nearly killing her. This past April, a 65-year-old woman was killed when she tried to break up a fight between two such dogs. Last year, an American XL Bully mauled to death a 17-month-old toddler in her backyard. And in 2021, a 10-year-old boy was killed by the pit bull cross breed.
Pit bull terriers themselves are one of four breeds already banned in England, because they were bred to be aggressive and are so dangerous to the public.