Father says 11-year-old boy felt safe with dogs before deadly attack in Edmonton home

By Lisa Johnson, The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — The father of an 11-year-old boy killed in a dog attack in an Edmonton home says he never saw the two animals act aggressively towards people and saw no sign he should be worried.

Wesley Grist told reporters Sunday his son, Kache Grist, was comfortable with the pets and had often cuddled with them on the couch. 

“He loved them,” said Wesley Grist, who held a news conference at a city restaurant.

Kache, who lived in Osoyoos, B.C., was visiting his father in Edmonton. Grist said the large dogs belonged to his roommate, and they have since been euthanized.

The father said he doesn’t know what sparked last week’s attack, since he was in the garage fixing a tire at the time. He said he’d left his son alone for no longer than ten minutes.

“When I walked in, I thought I heard the dogs making a commotion. I saw a mess, and I didn’t know what I was looking at. I was just walking across the kitchen when I found him,” he said.

“My world went from being happy, loving, hugging my son, and ten minutes later my world was completely ripped apart. My heart was crushed.”

“Nobody wants to see any child like that. But to have to be a parent and find your child like that, it’s the hardest thing I’ve been through in my whole life.”

Grist said his only son was kind, sensitive and loving.

Edmonton police said Thursday an autopsy confirmed the boy died from a dog bite.

Police said the medical examiner continues to investigate the manner of death but did not say whether the dogs’ owner would be charged. The medical examiner can classify manner of death as natural, accidental, homicide, suicide or undetermined.

Beware of Dog signs were posted at the home, and neighbours have said the animals were a danger and a nuisance. 

The city has said animal control was called about two previous attacks at the home. There had also been numerous barking complaints in the past year.

Grist said one of those attacks involved a person who was actively playing with the dogs. He did not know the details of the other attack.

He said Kache was close with the Edmonton roommate, and the boy affectionately called her “aunty.” He said his son hugged her and told her he loved her when he arrived for his visit.

“She loved my son, she’s grieving his loss too.”

The father said the public attention about the attack has resulted in threats to his roommate and kept him from properly being able to grieve as the family prepares for a funeral.

“Stop with all this finger pointing — it’s unnecessary, and it’s not honouring who my son was,” Grist said, adding he wants Kache to be remembered for not being an angry person or holding grudges.

“He would be upset with how this has all blown up — all the anger and finger pointing and blame. He’d want everybody to just be happy and getting along, because that’s who he was.

“He was just the most caring, sweet, considerate, empathetic — he was just perfect.” 

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has said the city would review previous calls and complaints about the dogs and see if there were any gaps in response.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2024.

Lisa Johnson, The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20240408000432-661373f24cdc2ad61ac1e80djpeg.jpg, Caption:

Wesley Grist speaks about his son Kache Grist who died after an attack by two large dogs in Edmonton on Sunday April 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.


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