National News

Woman found guilty in pit-bull attack

By The Canadian Press

CALGARY - A central Alberta woman has been convicted in a pit-bull attack that left another woman seriously injured and lying in a pool of blood.

A Calgary judge said there's no doubt Rita Phillip of Sundre commanded the dogs to attack the woman at a trailer home in August 2012.

Deanna Wolfe was found unconscious behind a closed bedroom door and was so badly mauled that emergency responders thought she was dead.

She suffered life-threatening wounds to her arms and face, lost an ear and has had several surgeries.

Wolfe, who was 26 at the time, was a friend of Phillip and was visiting her.

Queen's Bench Justice Jo'Anne Strekaf found Phillip guilty of aggravated assault and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Wolfe, who was in the courtroom Tuesday, said it was important for her to personally hear the verdict.

"This part is just like ... the closing of this attack," she said outside the courtroom. "I can put it behind me now."

She also said she is pleased with the outcome.

"I feel really happy ... nobody else will get hurt. And there's a big lesson about owning a pit bull, the right way and the wrong way to do it."

Officers responding to a 911 call found the two dogs in another room of the trailer, throwing themselves at the door trying to get out.

Phillip, 59, was arrested several days later at a Calgary casino.

The dogs had come to the attention of officials before. The town of Sundre had declared the two dogs vicious in 2011 following an attack on another dog at the same trailer park.

They had to be muzzled and on short leashes when out in public and confined to a pen when in their yard.

Wolfe said her life has been difficult since the attack. She said she has had constant nightmares about Phillip and her dogs.

"I'm injured to an extent where I don't even like looking at my injuries. I don't like looking at the scars that I have," Wolfe said. "No one should have to live like the way I do."

Phillip would only say she "feels good."

She's out of custody until her sentencing later this year.

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)

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