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Montreal woman, 55, killed in apparent dog attack

A police officer in Montreal.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Montreal man who came home only to see a dog attacking his neighbour's lifeless body said it was clear he'd arrived too late.

Farid Benzenati arrived home from work at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday and noticed a dog, which appeared to be a pit bull, playing with what he thought was "a large object" in the next backyard.

When he took a closer look, it was clear to him the object was a woman's body.

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"I yelled her name," Benzenati said Thursday. "I saw blood, and the dog was still attacking her."

Benzenati called police but said it was clearly too late to help the woman, who was later pronounced dead on the scene.

Montreal police Const. Benoit Boisselle said authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy before deciding whether to lay charges in the 55-year-old woman's death.

Although the victim had several bite marks on her body, Boisselle said it could take a few days before the cause of death is determined.

Police responding to a 911 call found the body in the backyard of her home in the east-end district of Pointe-aux-Trembles.

Police said the dog was standing by the body and acting aggressively. It was shot and killed by officers to allow paramedics to approach the woman.

Investigators met with the dog's owner but no names were released.

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The Montreal SPCA issued a statement Thursday calling for more legislation to address the problem of dangerous dogs without targeting any one breed.

"We must focus on effective legislation and practical solutions that will keep our community safe from dog attacks — focusing on responsible pet guardianship and dog bite prevention, rather than the physical appearance of the dog," the statement read.

The organization called for legislation that targets the "root causes" of aggressiveness, including bylaws addressing sterilization, licensing, education and socialization, and accountability for owners.

The province's public security minister said it is currently up to individual cities to pass legislation on dangerous dogs.

"At the moment the cities have the capacity to act, and they can act," Martin Coiteux said in Quebec City.

Ontario adopted a provincewide ban on pit bulls in 2005. They are also banned in several municipalities in Quebec and across Canada.

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