Call us crazy but shooting dogs doesn’t really seem like a good thing to do – full stop.
There are times when it may be appropriate for a dog to be killed. Euthanizing one because it is sick or dying and death is a relief, is one. When a dog is a violent and a danger to public safety, is another.
Either way you still don’t take it out back and shoot it with a shotgun. Putting an animal down isn’t done that way anymore – unless you’re the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations apparently.
Last Thursday (Aug. 9) the ministry’s staff gave the campground manager at the Sloquet Hot Springs permission to shoot two dogs that had been reported in that area for over a year.
At the same time, ministry staff also thought in all their wisdom it might be a good idea to contact an animal rescue group, Whistler Animals Galore in this case, to help. The apparent contradiction of these two actions occurring at the same time we assume is lost on them as well.
But the devil is in the details because WAG was asked to provide written statements that the non-profit organization accepts and assumes legal liability for the two dogs and if they could not they would be shot.
We’re not lawyers or risk management experts here at The Question> but like WAG we think it is not reasonable to assume liability for a dog as a rescue group when you are not actually in possession or control of that animal.
So it was a race against time or WAG volunteers who rushed out to the campsite in an effort to rescue two dogs, who by all accounts have been living wild in the area for over a year, are malnourished and one injured. They were on site by 5:30 p.m. and an hour and 15 minutes later heard two gunshots ring out and having been told both animals were dead left.
We now know that was not true. More volunteers returned the next day and were successful, capturing who staff at the shelter now know as Atlas.
Officials report instances of biting as the cause for permission to shoot and kill the animals. Those instances date back to June 24 however staff were not made aware of this threat until Aug. 8, when an attempt to get WAG involved made and the permission to kill given.
While initially referring to the dogs as feral, officials have since stated that: “upon further investigation, ministry staff concluded that the two dogs in question were never domesticated and have been wild since birth.” They point out it is not against the law to shoot a wild dog.
This is an extremely convenient and politically expedient conclusion to come after staff have gone out and shot a dog while at the very same time an animal rescue group is trying to save it. It also absolves the ministry of having to show any concern for these animals for the past year while they linger in the area becoming increasingly malnourished, sick and injured.
WAG staff, animal behaviourists who are trained to know the difference between feral, wild and domesticated dogs indicate Atlas is most likely a pet that was abandoned.
Regardless of the fact we find the actions of those involved in this scenario unacceptable and excuses for their behaviour empty we hope, in the future, like WAG that anybody who decides they want to shoot a dog thinks twice.