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Dog in distress left to die

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 08/05) - A recent drive down the Ingraham Trail has created a memory that will remain strong in the mind of Sylvia Lefebvre.

"We saw this dog walking really slowly on the side of the road near Hidden Lake.

"It looked like it had rabies because it had a lot of saliva coming out of its mouth, but under its chin was all blood," Lefebvre said.

"You could tell it was really hurt by the look on its face. I had dreams about it all night."

Having just seen a dark Blazer/Bronco-type vehicle with four younger male passengers pass them heading towards Yellowknife, Lefebvre said she and her travelling companions quickly deducted the vehicle had hit the dog and left it to die unattended.

"How could someone drive by a dog like that. No one would," she said of the disgust she felt about the situation she and her boyfriend were left to deal with.

As Lefebvre was stopped to examine the dog, passing travellers with a 22-calibre shotgun offered to shoot the dog to put it out of its misery. They decided against that plan of action, however, and instead pulled their vehicle with its flashers on near the dog, which had since collapsed barely breathing in the middle of the road.

Raymond Bourget, senior wildlife officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said

wildlife officers received a call from the Prelude Lake campground who reported that an individual had spotted what they thought was a wolf or dog injured on the highway.

"They thought it might have been attacked by another animal," Bourget said. The officer on call then drove to the scene where he found the dog, described as having sharp, pointy ears and having a black saddle and tan sides, similar to a German Shepherd cross breed.

Upon examination, Bourget said the officer determined that it had been struck by a vehicle and had sustained severe head and neck injuries, resulting in laboured breathing.

"Rather than having it suffer any longer than necessary, he made the decision to humanely dispatch the animal," Bourget said of the resulting shooting of the dog.

Lefebvre said being a pet owner, she covered her ears when the dog was put out of its misery.

"The dog didn't suffer longer than it had to. It was awful,"she said tearfully.

Lefebvre did the right thing, Bourget said of how she handled the situation. "If people are not certain if they are looking at a domestic animal or a wild animal, they should feel free to contact our on-call line," he said.

Should the animal be identified as domestic, Bourget said the RCMP have jurisdiction, not the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.