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First Nation mourns 5-year-old boy killed in dog attack in northern Alberta

first nation mourns 5 year old boy killed in dog attack in northern alberta

A First Nation in northern Alberta is mourning the death of a five-year-old boy who was killed by his family’s dogs on Sunday.

The child died after being attacked by his family’s dogs on Whitefish Lake First Nation on Sunday, Const. Kelsey Davidge said Thursday.

“He did die from a dog attack/mauling,” she said. “They were family-owned pets. There is no public safety concerns or other concerns to the public.” 

Davidge said the family killed the dogs themselves following the attack. She was unable to say how many dogs were involved in the attack.

She said RCMP are still investigating the death and no charges have been laid. 

In a message Thursday, the boy’s mother said that her son was a happy boy, who touched a lot of people’s hearts. CBC is not naming the child because he was receiving child intervention services from the province.

“My son was only five-years-old and had a whole life ahead of him,” the mother wrote. “I can still hear his voice in my head, saying how much he loves and misses me.”

She said she’s can still hear his voice as he told her about his day at school. 

The little boy attended the community school on Whitefish Lake First Nation, Chief Albert Thunder said in an interview. The community is about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. 

Thunder said his whole community is heartbroken, and is working to support the boy’s family members who he lived with.

He said it’s hard to believe something like this could happen. 

“A small community, really tight-knit community, almost everybody is interrelated and so these kind of devastations that happen – it really impacts the whole community,” Thunder said.

Thunder said the community held a prayer meeting to mourn  the little boy’s death and the death of another community member who died last weekend. He said it’s an incredibly difficult time, but that community members are holding each other up.

“We pray together, we’re united especially when things like this happen,” he said.

Thunder added that his community has a locally organized and funded crisis response team that has been critical in getting support to the family much more quickly than what outside agencies are able to offer.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Children’s Services Minister Mickey Amery said that because of privacy law, the ministry is limited in its ability to provide any information that could identify a specific child.

“There is no greater tragedy than the death of a child, and our hearts go out to all the loved ones grieving the loss of any child,”  press secretary Chinenye Anokwuru said.

She added that whenever a child in care dies or is seriously injured, it is publicly reported and a “rigorous examination” of the circumstances is undertaken.

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