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Pemberton Wildlife Association opposes hunting bans

Police investigation into shooting of dog continues



The secretary of the Pemberton Wildlife Association, Allen McEwan, has sent a letter to the local governments in and around Pemberton informing them that the PWA is unequivocally opposed "to the proposed hunting closures outlined" by Veronica Woodruff.

Woodruff made a plea for some areas of the Pemberton Valley to be excluded from hunting at a Pemberton council meeting a month ago, after her dog was shot and killed while she and her husband were riding their mountain bikes.

Since Woodruff’s presentation the focus has been on the police investigation into the animal killing, but according to Constable Michelle Nisbet of the Whistler RCMP no one has been charged in connection with the incident.

A Burnaby man was charged with multiple drug and firearm offences shortly after the Woodruff’s dog was shot but Nisbet confirmed Tuesday that he was no longer a suspect in the dog’s killing.

"There was no evidence linking him with that shooting so we’re still searching for suspects," said Nisbet.

Woodruff wants hunting banned in the Mackenzie Basin area, which is part of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Area C. Woodruff went to the Pemberton council mostly to gather support for her cause.

But McEwan said any ban would not work for several reasons and suggested throughout his letter that local governments have to find a way for the community to safely share the area in question.

"We believe that hunting can co-exist with other uses of the land," wrote McEwan. "No other portion of the Pemberton Valley is presently closed to hunting – despite the obvious presence of development.

"At this point in the development of our community, there appears to be no good reason to close the hunting season in this area.

"The last few weeks have been very difficult and emotional for everyone… we would like to see it come to a sensible conclusion and believe that public education and discussion between the user groups is the only way that can occur."

McEwan also said that the PWA would be prepared to put up more signs to warn people about the possibility of hunters using the area.

But while McEwan’s letter was clearly meant to be constructive he did make some contentious points on behalf of the PWA. For instance, he claimed "there is no evidence to suggest that public safety was ever part of this issue" despite the fact that Woodruff’s dog was shot not far from where the Woodruffs were cycling.

He also wrote that hunting is "one of the safest outdoor activities in North America."