Vaughan Roberts is keeping his dog, Rupert, on leash and close after a wild encounter he never expected in a popular walking area near Parksville.
“It was a little bewildering and intimidating because you never see wolves on our side of the Island,” Roberts told CHEK News on Friday.
The Parksville man first encountered the wolf-dog that he estimates to weigh around 150 pounds on Sept. 7 in a field off Springhill Road.
He thought it was a one-off. Then, last week, Roberts says it chased after Rupert and he had to throw rocks at it and scream to keep it back as it followed them to their truck.
“It followed us all the way to the road,” said Roberts, who later learned another resident had seen it being dumped nearby.
“Someone had seen somebody dumping it out of a van in the Errington area and so that’s a little disappointing. Why you would dump an animal like that, that’s obviously aggressive?” said Roberts.
Story continues below.
Colleen Rowe has rescued wolf-dog hybrids for 15 years and is worried for the animal that has already attacked two dogs.
“He’s been abandoned in this area, he can’t find his way home,” said Rowe.
“The first dog that was injured actually went on the attack after the wolf-dog, and the owner told me that, and the wolf-dog defended itself,” said the Parksville resident. “The second dog though sounds like it was very sweet and was just roaming around.”
Rowe hopes to catch it and rehabilitate the animal, as she has for so many others.
“They’re very misunderstood and I think people adopt them with a certain expectation and then I find when they’re about a year old, people realize it’s not just like owning a dog, and unfortunately many of them get surrendered and unfortunately euthanized,” said Rowe. “So I really wish people would stop breeding them altogether.”
Since the wolf-dog hybrid isn’t actually wild, B.C. conservation officers won’t trap it, and Coastal Animal Services tells CHEK News it is still assessing the area to determine where to put up cages. Rowe hopes to get to the animal first to ensure it’s captured safely.
“And protect it, but also protect the other animals that are walking in the area,” she said.
“The bottom line is, it has to be taken out of that area,” said Roberts.
Warning signs are now up, as the Springhill Road area is still busy with people out walking their dogs despite the many wolf-dog sightings. Dog owners are urged to keep their animals close, as efforts to safely trap the animal that was dumped in the wild continue.