Fort St. John man in positive spirits, undergoing multiple surgeries following vicious dog attack

UPDATE:

Fort St. John RCMP say they are still piecing together the events that led to the attack, and are asking anyone with information to contact the detachment. In a statement, police say they received a call from Baker about the attack around 7:55 p.m. on Dec. 25. Officers responded to the home and found Baker suffering from bites, and Elgie unresponsive and his body in shock from the injuries, the dogs still attacking him. Officers shot both dogs in the home, killing one while the other escaped with serious injuries. The dog was found and "humanely put down," police say.

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A Fort St. John man is undergoing multiple surgeries in an Edmonton hospital to save his arms and hands following a vicious dog attack on Christmas Day, but he remains in positive spirits, friends and family say.

Robin Elgie and his girlfriend Wendy Lee Baker were attacked by a pair of stray dogs, believed to be pit bulls, in the evening at their home in the Southridge Mobile Home Park.

Both sustained significant wounds from the attack, forcing Elgie, 66, to be transported to the University of Alberta Hospital for emergency surgery. Baker, 51, was treated at the hospital in Fort St. John.

Elgie was undergoing his fourth surgery Wednesday morning, his daughter Sheryl Elgie told the Alaska Highway News in an interview from Edmonton.

"(Doctors are) continually to having to remove the dead flesh and clean up the infection," she said.

"Until that is done and some healing starts to begin, they won't be able to tell if they have to amputate. They're trying to save his hands at this point, but they can't do any skin grafts and move forward until all of the dead tissue is removed and all of the infection is completely gone."

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed the attack, saying emergency crews were called to the home around 7 p.m. Fort St. John RCMP say they are still piecing together the events that led to the attack, and are asking anyone with information to contact the detachment.

Sheryl Elgie said Baker had opened the door to the couple's home to let their dog inside when the two dogs came charging in and "immediately went for their cat."

Both Robin and Baker tried to stop the dogs only to be attacked themselves. 

Baker managed to lock herself in a bedroom to call 911, while Robin continued to try to fend off the dogs. The cat was killed and their dog was unharmed.

Both Robin and Baker sustained multiple bites, though Robin sustained the worst of the injuries, including punctures to his legs, torso, hands, forearms and biceps, Elgie said.

"They literally tore his arms apart," she said.

Police officers arrived at the home and both dogs were reportedly shot, while Robin was quickly airlifted to Edmonton, Elgie said.

Police say they are still in the early stages of their investigation, but believe they have identified the owner of the dogs.

Cpl. Dave Tyreman told the Alaska Highway News it's too early to determine if there was any intentional wrongdoing that could lead to charges against the owner.

"It's too early to tell," he said.

"We have to do a full investigation to find what happened exactly, and how these dogs were able to get into the house."

Despite the attack, Robin remains in positive spirits. 

"He's more worried about everyone else going out of their way for him than himself the last few days," Elgie said.

"He's talking to people, he's able to have conversations on the phone, he's more coherent. He's in better spirits.

"He's obviously upset that it happened, he just doesn't understand how it happened or why it happened," she added. "His big worry is what if it happened to somebody else with children?"

Baker is recovering in Fort St. John and has not yet been able to travel to Edmonton. 

Fundraising campaign launched

A GoFundMe has been launched online to raise $10,000 for the couple as they recover. About $1,200 has been donated so far.

Family friend Kim Babcock, who launched the campaign, said she was shocked when she heard the news. Elgie has worked as an equipment operator for her and her husband Ken's company, Wild Creek Contracting, for 14 years.

"I just couldn't believe it.  What a nightmare. Whenever you think about it, you're horrified. I can't imagine," Babcock told the Alaska Highway News.

Babcock wants to raise the money to help the couple cover their expenses, from rent to travel costs.

"They have a pretty long road ahead of them," she said.

"Robin, he's just an amazing guy. He knows he could lose his arm… and he's not angry at anybody or anything.  

"I just think wow what a big person he is. The community should be coming together to help him."

Thirteen people have donated to the campaign so far.

Elgie said Robin will likely need many more surgeries. She unsure how long he will be in the hospital for. 

"It could be quite awhile. It's depends on a lot of different factors. It could be weeks, it could be a couple months," she said, adding her thanks to the hospital staff and friends in the community.

"The support he's gotten has been amazing. It's been really wonderful."

For more, visit gofundme.com/mcgrvpbs.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

editor@ahnfsj.ca

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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