A six-year-old boy was on his way to school in Shamattawa with a group of other young children when he was attacked by a pack of dogs.
Shamattawa chief William Miles said the boy, who was flown to Winnipeg after being treated at the local nursing station, has had surgery and is in stable condition with his grandmother at his side.
"We’ve heard that he’s going to be okay," Miles said in a telephone interview.
Miles said at least three dogs were involved in the attack in the community, located 1,300 km northeast of Winnipeg, but were shot by band officials and local RCMP officers.
"They were pretty close to school but they had to walk through the bush at one point and that’s when it happened," Miles said. "They (the children) are all quite small so they were quite helpless (when the dogs attacked)."
Shamattawa resident Henrida Thomas said the little boy was bitten on the head and neck.
"The police were telling all the kids to go inside the house," said Thomas. She said she didn’t know if police shot all the dogs.
Vicious stray dogs are a menace to the community, said the mom, who doesn’t let her five-year-old son go outside to play.
"There’s a dog out here that bites," she said. "That dog attacked me before." She said visitors to her home are wary of the animal. "It doesn’t belong here."
Miles said the dogs — possibly as many as 100 — are a serious problem.
"We are always trying to get that under control, the dog populations," he said, noting the dog shoots are usually done twice a year. "We don’t really have any other way. We don’t have the resources (to do anything else) so our only option is to do it that way."
He said the dogs reproduce quickly which contributes to the overpopulation.
"They are more aggressive and dangerous when they are mating, right now, and they get in packs."
He said a number of dogs were shot after the incident and two of them were being shipped to Winnipeg to be tested for diseases.
-with files from Carol Sanders