August 14, 2017 1:15 pm
Updated: August 14, 2017 5:46 pm

Man forced to euthanize dog following incident at Halifax park

WATCH: A hole at Halifax’s Mainland Common dog park forced an owner to put his beloved pet down this weekend. Jennifer Grudic brings us that story.

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A man is looking for answers from the Halifax Regional Municipality after an accident at a local park forced him to euthanize his dog.

Mike Goneau said he was at the Mainland Common dog park on Saturday with his Bernese Mountain Dog named Bear.

He said Bear was sniffing around in a grassy area of the park when all of a sudden he let out a horrible cry.

“I rushed down to him. He had fallen into the pit hole,” said Goneau.


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“He was screaming quite badly. I had to pick him up and carry him to the parking lot and take him to the emergency vet.”

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A visit to the vet confirmed that Bear had broken his shoulder bone. Goneau was told that due to Bear’s age and size, it was unlikely he would ever be able to recover from the injury.

He had no choice but to put the dog down.

“I cried all Saturday afternoon. And every time yesterday, a piece of fur would go by or if I was moving his dish… I relive the moment,” said Goneau, adding that while nothing will ever bring Bear back, he wants to make sure something like this never happens to another family again.

The hole that Bear fell into is one of several in the grassy area along the fence at the Mainland Common park.

George Hickey is part of a group of concerned dog owners who have been trying to get the city to fix the holes for months.

Hickey met with councillors Russell Walker and Richard Zurawski at the park on June 27 to try and expedite the issue.

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“This is almost going on two months now with numerous emails that went unanswered and we keep hearing the response that ‘it goes back to staff,” Hickey said.

“This situation could have been avoided. You’re talking about an hour with a weed whacker to clear some brush and you’re talking an hour or so with a backhoe and a Bobcat to fill the holes.”

He said the municipality needs to accept responsibility for the accident and take immediate action to prevent any further incidents from happening.

“It’s heartbreaking that this had to happen,” Hickey said.

“I would have expected them to be here first thing this morning and I would expect somebody to talk to [Goneau] and say ‘look, we’re really sorry that we dropped the ball on you’.”

Temporary fencing was installed on Monday afternoon to prevent anyone else from entering the unsafe area.

Brendan Elliott, spokesperson with Halifax Regional Municipality, said they are committed to taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of both dogs and people using the park.

“We’re actually going to look at closing the park down for a couple hours once a week so we can actually go in and do some proactive maintenance, rather than just reacting to problems,” Elliott said.

He said there are also other issues, like drainage problems, that need to be looked at to bring the park up to snuff. For now, safety is the number one concern.

“It was just devastating to hear what happened to Bear. Hearing that the owner was on the floor having to say goodbye to the dog… I’ve had to do that myself a couple years ago so I know what he’s going through,” said Elliott.

“I want to make sure that this death isn’t in vain so we are taking some measures to ensure that park is safe.”

Elliott said up until Monday morning there were no open 311 files to report any of the holes at the park.

He recommends anyone who sees something that is potentially unsafe to call 311 so that it can looked at and fixed.

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