A Coombs family says their 18-month-old French Bulldog was killed by the wolf-dog hybrid that has been loose in the area for several months.
Greg Salmon was walking Ocean on leash at the Coombs Country Campground the morning of Nov. 25 when the wolf-dog appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the puppy.
The animal pulled hard enough that it tore the dog’s collar and broke Salmon’s finger before it ran into the woods with the puppy, according to a statement by Vancouver Island Internet Television on behalf of the family.
“I chased after them but lost sight of them. I ran till I fell and and got back up and ran back to the trailer and called the police for help,” Salmon said in the statement.
He and his daughter Haley and girlfriend Carolyn searched for their pet and eventually came across a blood trail believed to be from Ocean.
“It was heartbreaking and to see that the blood was still warm. There was no trace of our Ocean anywhere else,” Salmon said.
The wolf-dog, reportedly released by an owner, has been sighted in areas such as the Virginia Estates subdivision, Springhill Road and nearby forested Crown land, prior to the attack at the campground.
It has also been spotted via trail cam numerous times checking out a baited trap. FLED (Find lost and escaped dogs) is assisting resident Colleen Rowe, who has 15 years of experience rescuing and fostering wolf-dogs, in her efforts to humanely trap the hybrid animal.
The dog has been nicknamed WD-40 because it has proven so difficult and “slippery” to catch.
Ocean is not the first pet to be attacked by a wolf-dog in the area.
Tommy Garrison said his dog Gus spent four days at Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Nanaimo after an incident in a wood lot in Virginia Estates on Oct. 12.
Garrison and his dog were out for a run, when Gus ducked into the forest, where he was attacked by what Garrison believes was the wolf-dog, though it happened out of his sight.
“I certainly heard it,” he said, and added it did not sound like a bear or a cougar.
“By the time I was able to get to him, the wolf dog had scurried off, but he was basically laying there bleeding, not able to move on his side.”
Gus suffered nine puncture wounds to his neck, as well as a torn trachea and a broken tail — it took approximately a month for him to recover, Garrison said.
Signs have been posted to advise of the wolf-dog’s presence, but the PQB News has heard from residents via email who have encountered the animal in an area by Shearme Road without signs.
Salmon said in his statement that his dog’s death could have been avoided, and the family would like to see legislation that would penalize people who abandon an animal.
“Our beloved girl should never have had to die for us to push for change. There are currently places where you can surrender unwanted pets with no questions asked. What happened to us is heart breaking and nobody should have to experience this.”
RDN Area F representative Leanne Salter brought a resolution to ban exotic pets, such as wolf-dog hybrids, to the recent Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference, which passed. It will take some time for the resolution to make its way through different levels of government.
B.C. Conservation Service has indicated the animal is outside its jurisdiction.
Sightings of the wolf-dog can be reported to FLED at email@example.com or 250-479-0911.