Owners allowed to go scot-free in fatal dog attack

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The People's Procuracy in the central highlands town of Buon Ma Thuot has agreed with a controversial decision by local police to drop criminal charges against a couple whose dogs killed a woman in January.

According to the judicial agency's dispatch signed by deputy head Nguyen Hong Nam on Wednesday, Pham Ngoc Thanh and his wife Nguyen Thi Hoe had a right to raise dogs on their farm. They had also erected fences and signboards warning about fierce dogs before the incident happened on January 21.

So, it was not their fault that Pham Thi Ngan was fatally attacked by the Berger dogs when she entered Thanh's farm in Ea Kao Commune's H'drat Village on that day to collect coffee seeds without permission, the agency said.

Thanh and Hoe were only responsible for paying compensation to Ngan's family as requested by the latter, according to the dispatch.

The document, however, did not say anything about the police rejecting allegations that Nguyen Dinh Son, who allegedly managed the dogs, saw them mauling Ngan and did not help her even after her friends beseeched him to do so.

Giang Thi Diep and Nguyen Thi Tram, who accompanied Ngan on the fateful day, said Son was present when the dogs were attacking Ngan, but he left without offering the 55-year-old woman any aid despite her cries for help.

When the dogs attacked them, Diep and Tram managed to climb up trees, yet Ngan was pulled down and bit and torn to death.

Police, meanwhile, said that when he saw the three women enter the farm, Son had asked them to get out before leaving the area. When he returned, he found Ngan had been killed by the dogs.

Nam said Diep and Tram refused to meet the People's Procuracy two times, adding that some of their statements were also found contradict the police's investigations.

Another witness, Vu Thi Hue, who lives behind Thanh's farm, said warning signboards were only set up on the day Ngan was buried.

Released on March 1, the police department's decision had upset many local people and prompted Ngan's son, Nguyen Van Khoi, to send complaints to local authorities and related agencies including the People's Procuracy, and the press, saying the decision was biased.

He said he hoped his mother receives justice.

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