Stray dogs on God’s Lake First Nation have been rounded up and shot after the body of a teenage girl was found Sunday morning on a snowy trail in the northern community.
The dead teen has been identified by residents as Leah Kendra Anderson, believed to be 15.
RCMP have not confirmed the gender or identify of a body found in the fly-in Cree community, located about 550 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. But residents confirmed the girl’s remains were found on the weekend. She had been missing since Friday night.
A family member politely declined comment this morning.
An autopsy is expected to be done today to determine the cause of death.
There is fear the girl might have been mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs, which prompted the band to call for the dog cull, said a God’s Lake resident who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Gods Lake Narrows, the island community next to the First Nation, confirmed hearing gunshots Monday afternoon. Dora Bland said a band official also called to ask if her community wanted their stray dogs culled as well.
"Some dogs were shot… just the dogs running loose," said Bland.
On Monday, residents gathered to pray on a trail where Leah’s remains were found.
"I can confirm that prior to the deceased being removed, that out of respect some community members were afforded an opportunity to hold prayers at the site," RCMP spokesman Cpl. Miles Hiebert said Monday.
Another resident, who refused to be identified, said Leah was attending Grade 10 in another community but was home for the holidays.
The well-liked teen wasn’t accounted for when the First Nation asked households to check the well-being of all family members Sunday.
God’s Lake First Nation Chief Gilbert Andrews refused an interview request this morning.
On Monday, a community member said the remains were discovered by a teenage boy early Sunday morning on a snowmobile trail. By most accounts, the boy spotted a pack of dogs surrounding something and, when he scared them off, he saw the remains on the snow-covered ground.
Peter Andrews, principal of Kindergarten to Grade 9 school in the community, would not confirm the identity of the girl, but said everyone knew the teen who had died.
"It’s pretty somber here," he said this morning. "We are using community resources to accommodate students and staff who need counseling."