Animal rescue group seeks answers after dog found shot to death near Lake Cowichan

Animal rescue group seeks answers after dog found shot to death near Lake Cowichan
Screenshot: Google Maps
The red circle indicates the area where the dog was found.

A Vancouver Island-based organization that helps locate lost and escaped pets is searching for answers after a dog was found fatally shot along a hiking trail just east of Lake Cowichan.

Gary Shade, co-founder of FLED (Find Lost & Escape Dogs Vancouver Island), says the non-profit was notified about the dead dog Wednesday morning. Two volunteers then walked the Hill 60 trail to retrieve him, only to find he had a bullet hole in his chest.

“A couple people were out hiking (on Monday) and they came across it. They took a picture of it. They posted it on one of the Lake Cowichan newsletters and someone got a hold of us,” said Shade. “They were panicking because the blood was still fairly fresh.”

He says the long-tailed dog was a brindle-coloured, likely four- to six-year-old Boxer/Pitbull cross, and was believed to have been lying there for more than a day.

Watch the report below:

FLED took to social media to share what had happened.

“THIS IS WRONG ON ALL LEVELS!” the group wrote on Facebook, adding it’s “the most despicable thing any human can do to another living, breathing, sentient being that deserves your respect, ethical treatment, and your protection.”

They said the dog appeared to be healthy.

“This boy looked in good shape, his teeth were in good shape. He was not skinny (although he was bloated). He had one gunshot to his chest that was very noticeable,” reads the post.

‘A flipping joke’

Incidents like this one, where a pet is found dead or badly beaten, are nothing new, according to Shade. But this case is unusual because the dog still had his collar around his neck.

“To leave a collar and leash on is strange,” noted Shade in an interview Sunday.

He says the dog didn’t have an ID tag and wasn’t microchipped, which makes it even more difficult to locate the owners.

“There was a dog beaten really badly a few months ago up off Lake Cowichan highway, there was another dog we heard got shot around Skutz Falls,” he added. “Normally, if they’re shot, there’s no collar or nothing on them.”

FLED called the BC SPCA hotline and RCMP, and Shade says the latter is currently investigating. “They said to keep the dog in a cooler, so that’s where he is,” he said.

The co-founder can’t fathom why someone would shoot a dog, let alone leave its body lying along a trail. He wishes the laws against such acts would come with greater consequences.

“The laws against this are a flipping joke,” he said.

RCMP investigation underway

A spokesperson from Lake Cowichan RCMP confirms to CHEK News that Mounties did receive a report regarding the dog.

“At this time the file is still being investigated, and I have no further details to share,” said Const. David Prak in an emailed statement.

On Thursday afternoon, FLED posted photos, which may be disturbing to some viewers, and information on Facebook in hopes that someone with information would come forward. So far, there’s been no luck.

“If a dog’s sick and old and you can’t afford the vet costs to put it down, well, if you’re going to take him out and shoot him, at least bury him. If you go to our Facebook page, you’ll see the picture showing how the dog was lying,” added Shade.

“That’s exactly how we found him.”

He says the non-profit and people in the community are hoping to cremate the dog and spread his ashes around a memorial garden.

“SOMEONE always knows something. Someone knows this dog or has seen this dog at one time or another,” added FLED on Facebook. “Like any other animal, this dog deserves justice and the person who shot this boy needs to be held accountable.”

FLED can be reached at 250-479-0911 or [email protected], and the group says all information submitted is kept confidential.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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