$1,000 reward offered for 'dog killer' after suspected strychnine poisoning
An animal advocacy group is offering a $1,000 reward to help solve a disturbing case of suspected dog-poisoning in southeastern B.C.
Authorities said the dog, a German shepherd named Topaz, suddenly collapsed while she was out running with her owner in the Kitchener area on March 23.
Conservation Officer James Barber said they were in a remote backcountry area when the dog fell to the ground and starting convulsing. Her owner rushed to help, but there was nothing he could do. The dog died in his arms.
"The owner is just absolutely devastated," Barber said.
It appears Topaz had found a pile of meat that was left just a few feet off the road. Conservation officers sent a sample for testing, which determined the meat was laced with strychnine.
The incident has left other people who use the remote areas outside Kitchener on edge, James said.
"It's really held people who enjoy the backcountry hostage," he told CTV News. "They're worried now."
Animal advocates at The Fur-Bearers are concerned as well. The non-profit group said it believes the dog's death could be connected to a wider problem of poaching that puts both pets and wildlife at risk.
“Strychnine is a horrific way for an animal to die, and it is illegal for use in British Columbia,” spokesperson Michael Howie said in a statement. “This was poaching. This was a crime that someone committed knowing full well that they would cause suffering to any animal who came (and) ingested the bait."
The group said another dog was also likely poisoned, but was given emergency treatment and survived. It's put up a $1,000 reward for help bringing the "dog killer" to justice.
Poaching is defined as the illegal killing of any fish, wildlife or native plants, and it encompasses a wide variety of unlawful behaviour, from hunting out of season to using banned equipment.
"We know the people of British Columbia oppose this," Howie said. "We hope that this reward will help prompt those in the community come forward with information that will lead to justice for Topaz and any other animals who were inhumanely killed."
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is trying to determine who left the poisoned meat out, and said there could be serious repercussions for the person responsible.
But given the remoteness of the area, James said identifying the culprit will be challenging.
"Where this happened in the backcountry, it's a long ways from anyone. It's not somewhere that's frequented by people," he said. "This is going to be a tough one to solve."
The Fur-Bearers said anyone with information who is interested in claiming its reward should contact B.C.'s Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.