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Family of senior mauled to death by dogs frustrated with court delays


Betty Ann Williams died after her neighbours' three large dogs got loose and attacked while she was gardening outside her home.

That was more than a year ago, and for Williams' family, resolution still seems far, far away.

Williams' nieces say after a year of delays, it's hard to move on with their lives.

"We'd like to have some closure and just, hopefully, there'll be some consequences for what happened," said Nancy Atkinson.

They're also upset by the seemingly callous attitude of the dogs' owners.

"Even if it's two words right there or just an acknowledgment, and that never happened and still hasn't happened to date. There's been no formal written apology for losing her," said Susan Williams.

The owners of the three dogs involved in the fatal attack on June 5, 2022, face a total of 12 charges under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, each count carrying a maximum fine of $10,000.

Last week, their lawyer suddenly quit, delaying the three-day trial until Nov. 9.

The judge at the time said it would go ahead even if there was no legal counsel present for the defendants.

Denis Bagaric and Taylin Calkins have resisted signing over the dogs to the city, previously vowing on social media to fight for the dogs' return.

An order to turn over the dog named Smoki, believed to have given the fatal bite, was never signed, according to the city.

All three dogs are still alive and in the custody of Animal Services.

By November, they will have spent roughly 17 months in custody.

It's a bad situation, says a retired police dog handler with nearly 50 years of experience.

"Whatever little socialization they got or were getting, now it's compounding and they're getting even less," said JC St-Louis, a professional behaviourist with an interest in difficult and aggressive dogs.

St-Louis likens it to someone who knows how to swim -- you may not swim for years, but if you fall in the water, you're going to remember how to get to shore.

"Those dogs know how to bite. They know how to attack. You can't take it out of them," he said.

The family says they want Betty Ann -- or Rusty, as she was known -- to be remembered for her kindness and meticulous nature.

Fruit trees have been planted in her memory next to the Capitol Hill Community Garden, across the street from the home she lived in for nearly 60 years.

A memorial bench is also expected to be added in the coming weeks.

Money from a GoFundMe was used to help with funeral expenses, with the remainder donated to the community association and Alberta Children's Hospital. Top Stories

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