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WAG rescues dog from Sloquet Hotsprings area

Ministry of Forests spokesperson confirms death of rescued dog's companion



Sunday, Aug. 12 update at 10:30 a.m.

The “feral” dog abandoned at a remote wilderness campsite at Sloquet Hotsprings, about three hours from Whistler, was rescued late Saturday (Aug. 11) and brought to the Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) shelter where it is now being cared for.

The drama started Thursday, when WAG put out a call for a volunteer with a 4x4 to rescue the animal and a companion. One dog was shot and killed by the campground manager late Thursday with permission from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. WAG was allowed to resume searching for the surviving animal late Friday.

The dog was finally caught by four loggers at the site, who had been feeding him and who agreed to help WAG volunteers.

“They are angels,” said WAG board member Sue Eckersley. “I’ve spent 36 hours trying to get him and they said they were going to save this dog and they did.”

Shannon Broderick, the director of operations for WAG, said Sunday morning that she had not been able to make a medical assessment for the dog, which was subdued and depressed but taking food. The plan, she said, was to allow it to recover for a few days and take it to a vet.

"It's normal for a dog in this situation to be depressed, he lost his companion, but the fact that he is eating is great," she said.

Broderick estimated the rescue cost $500, excluding vet fees, and involved around 30 people overall. She thanked everyone who helped and many others who volunteered.

For more on the story read Pique Newsmagazine on Thursday.

Saturday, Aug. 11 update:

The story of two dogs stuck at a remote campground up a treacherous logging road about three hours from Whistler has taken a tragic turn.

One of the dogs was shot and killed on Aug. 9 by a campsite manager working for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The dogs were deemed to be “feral” and shooting them is legal, according to a spokesman for the ministry.

The other dog escaped injury and has not yet been caught.

The shooting took place minutes after an employee for Whistler Animals Galore (WAG), the non-profit animal shelter, arrived with a companion at Sloquet Hot Springs to rescue the animals. The group had been invited earlier that day by the ministry to capture the dogs.

WAG had been told the two dogs were starving at the campsite, one having been injured after being hit by a truck, and put out a call on Facebook and through Pique for volunteers with a 4x4.

The off-duty WAG staff member and another Whistler resident set off that afternoon and arrived early that evening. They saw both dogs, which ran off, and reported hearing two gun shots within 15 minutes of their arrival, said WAG board member Sue Eckersley in an interview on Friday.

After the shooting, which the pair did not witness, they were told both animals had died, and after searching further for several hours they returned to Whistler distraught and empty handed.

A ministry spokesman confirmed in an email on Aug. 10 the death of one animal.

He said the dogs were considered feral animals “since at least last summer”, and had been involved in numerous incidents, including biting one person and stealing food from campers repeatedly. It was legal in this situation, the spokesman added, for the animals to be shot.

“We can confirm that the manager of Sloquet Hot Springs campsite shot a feral dog on Thursday evening that had been acting aggressively toward campers in recent weeks,” the spokesman wrote.

“The campsite manager, also the band manager for the Douglas Lake First Nation, received permission from ministry staff to shoot the dogs. However, the dogs ran off from the campsite and the shooting occurred approximately seven-eight kilometres away from the campsite.”

The spokesman added that the manager acted with the full support of the ministry: “The animal was one of two dogs that had been causing problems in the area in recent weeks. Both had open sores and one had a severe injury to its hind leg. Ministry staff recently received reports that the dogs were stealing food from campers and one individual was bitten by one of the dogs…

“Three unsuccessful attempts were made in recent weeks to capture and relocate the dogs, including one by a member of the SPCA who was camping in the area and managed to load the feral dogs into a pickup truck. However the dogs chewed through their rope tethers and jumped from the moving truck, resulting in further injuries.”

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