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Father of boy killed by dogs calls media attention 'brutal,' urges kindness for dogs' owner

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The father of a boy killed by two dogs on Monday says he saw no indication the animals were a danger to his son.

Wesley Grist's 11-year-old son Kache was attacked and killed by two dogs owned by his friend, who he rents a room from in a southeast Edmonton home.

At a Sunday press conference, Grist defended his roommate and his home, saying the dogs were "clumsy oafs" and never acted aggressive with his son.

"I would never put my son in a spot where he was at risk, and I love my son," Grist said. "There was nothing that gave us any warning that this would be an issue."

Kache had known the dogs for more than a year, Grist said, and had spent time alone with them many times in the past.

"He was around these dogs that everybody is labelling as these monsters – I watched these dogs cuddle with him almost every day," Grist said.

City officials have not confirmed the breed of the dogs, but Kache's grandmother – who says she saw them in person – said they were Cane Corsos, also known as Italian Mastiffs.

The City of Edmonton has confirmed that two separate previous attack complaints had been filed against the dogs this year.

However, Grist denies the first complaint was an attack. He said the man was a roommate at the home and was playing rough with the dogs when he was bitten on the leg. That complaint resulted in no charges.

The other complaint was still under investigation at the time of the fatal attack. Grist doesn't know what happened there, but he maintains that the dogs were not aggressive with people.

"They weren't mean dogs. I don't know what to tell you, I don't know what happened," he said.

The attack

Kache, who lived in B.C. with his mother, was in Edmonton visiting his father during spring break when he was killed.

Grist said the pair had spent much of their time together at home, with the dogs, watching movies or TV.

On Monday, the dogs' owner was at work and Grist was in the garage doing some maintenance work on her truck. Kache had gone to the store for some snacks, and he stopped to give his dad a soda on his way back into the house.

"Just before he went inside he came over and gave me a hug and he told me he loved me," Grist said. "I told him I loved him … I told him I'd be in in a few minutes."

It wasn't more than 10 minutes before Grist went into the house and found Kache seriously hurt in the kitchen.

"No parent wants to see their child like that. Nobody wants to see any child like that," Grist said.

Police and paramedics were unable to save Kache's life. An autopsy found he died of a dog bite.

Kache Grist, 11, was killed in a dog attack in Edmonton on April 1, 2024. (Supplied)

Grist said he only saw one wound on his son, and he doesn't believe the boy was mauled.

"I wasn't in there, but I know for a fact they didn't just see him and go at him," he added. "These dogs did not chew up my son with that intent."

"Whatever happened, I wish I knew," Grist said. "I wish I would have went in five minutes earlier.

"I wish a lot of things. I wish my son was still here, but he's not, and I can't do anything about that."

The backlash

Grist said his son's death is the hardest thing he's ever been through, and he's angry that something so private has become so public.

"It's brutal, because it's become so invasive in my life in the time that I'm supposed to be grieving," Grist said. "But I can't even do that, because there's the threats coming to my roommate, and the people calling her a child-killer and all this other stuff."

Grist has been friends with the dogs' owner for more than 20 years, and he said he doesn't blame her for what happened.

"There's just so much to this that people are ignorant about," he said, adding the backlash has been so severe his friend is afraid to attend Kache's funeral.

Grist said it hurts to see his friend attacked, because she's grieving too – for Kache and her dogs, who he said were euthanized by the city Thursday.

"If I can be empathetic to her and not place blame on her, then none of you should," Grist said. "Nobody else should.

Nobody had to do what I had to do, nobody has any reason to be attacking her … She did nothing wrong."

Grist asked the public and media to respect the family's privacy going forward,

"I just want to put my son to rest," Grist said. "I just want him to be remembered for who he is, just kind, sweet. No anger, no grudges.

Kache Grist, 11, was killed in a dog attack in Edmonton on April 1, 2024. (Supplied)

"He just loved everybody, and he would be upset with how this is all blown up, and all the anger and finger-pointing blame stuff."

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has promised an investigation into how the city handled the previous complaints against the dogs.

Police have not said if charges will be laid against the dogs' owner.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Karyn Mulcahy, Diego Romero and Brandon Lynch

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