A dog, abandoned at a remote campground and allowed to run wild "since at least last summer," has been caught by volunteers and is recovering at the Whistler Animals Galore shelter after its companion was shot dead on the orders of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The dogs were deemed to be "feral" and shooting them near a remote campground at Sloquet Hot Springs, 143 km south-east from Whistler, was legal, said a spokesman for the ministry.
When the rescued animal arrived in Whistler late Saturday, Aug.11, the it was in shock and despondent, but by Aug. 14, it was eating, had gained a new name — "Atlas" — and had started to interact with WAG staff.
Shannon Broderick, the director of operations for WAG, said Dr. David Lane of Coast Mountain Veterinarians had examined Atlas and said the dog was about 18-months to two-years-old and would have been a puppy when abandoned.
Atlas's hind left paw is dislocated, an injury consistent with him being hit by a car. Surgery will be needed to repair it. His front left paw will need x-rays, and he has tapeworm and a matted coat. Apart from this, the dog was in "remarkable" shape.
"His body score was good, with a good layer of fat on him. He's such a good boy, we examined him and there was no sign of aggression even when he was in a bit of pain," Broderick said.
WAG staff say they were placed in an agonizing situation when they were invited by ministry staff on Aug. 9 to remove the two dogs from the campground, which could only be reached by potholed logging roads.
Sue Eckersley, a board member of WAG, said they responded immediately by putting out a call on Facebook and through Pique for volunteers with a 4X4 as the ministry said they had 24 hours to remove the dogs or they would be shot.
But Lindsay Suckling, WAG's adoptions co-ordinator, who drove to the hot springs with a volunteer, said the animals were shot at with the ministry's permission just 15 minutes after they arrived.
The shooting occurred because WAG would not sign a written agreement taking on liability for the animals.
Suckling said minutes before the shooting she'd managed to get close enough to pat the dog that was killed on the head, and had been optimistic that they'd catch it.
"I'm still very emotional about it, I'm just sad for the dog that died. He was sweet and more trusting than the other one. I want people to know. They went everywhere together," she said.
After the shooting, which Suckling did not witness, she was told both animals had died, and after searching further for several hours she returned to Whistler.