Dog attack suspect makes first court appearance, then taken to hospital
A Sundre woman charged after a 26-year-old Calgary woman was attacked and severely injured by two pitbulls in a Sundre trailer park on Aug. 18 has made her first court appearance.
Rita Phillip, 57, who faces a charge of aggravated assault, appeared in Calgary provincial court Monday morning. The case was adjourned until August 29 for a bail hearing.
Immediately following the court appearance, Phillip was taken to a Calgary hospital suffering from shortness of breath, said Sundre RCMP Const. Abe Letkeman.
Her condition was not immediately known at press time.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
A 26-year-old Calgary woman was flown by STARS to Foothills Hospital in Calgary with life threatening injuries after being found unconscious inside a trailer in the Sundre Mobile Estates park shortly after 2 a.m. on August 18.
Her condition was later upgraded to serious, and she remains in hospital this week. She has not been named.
Police say the victim, who was visiting the residence, was attacked by two male pitbulls owned by the accused. The victim suffered head, facial and arm injuries.
Sundre RCMP Cpl. Ryan Hodge described the scene as “very traumatic” when emergency personnel arrived following a 911 call from a neighbour.
“We are very cognizant of how this incident has impacted the victim, her family, and emergency workers who attended the scene,” he said.
One of the pitbulls was shot and killed by an RCMP officer at the scene. The dog’s remains are being tested for rabies by the Canada Food Inspection Agency.
The second dog remains in quarantine pending testing and a possible dangerous dog hearing.
“For public safety reasons, police are not allowing media access to the second dog, which remains under quarantine until further investigation determines it’s fate,” said Hodge.
Following the attack police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Rita Phillip’s arrest. On August 24 she was arrested without at a Calgary casino.
“Calgary Police Service (CPS) received a call from Rita Phillip last night (Aug. 24), who identified herself and added the fact that she was wanted by Sundre RCMP, but would not give her current location,” said Cpl. Hodge.
“With the assistance from the public, CPS was able to determine that Phillip was at a casino in the northeast part of Calgary (where) Phillip was taken into custody without incident.”
Const. Letkeman says the police investigation in to the mauling is continuing this week.