NOTE: Some readers may find a few details in this story and a photo below disturbing
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is urging dog owners to be more vigilant after a deer and a moose were chased to their deaths by dogs in the Naramata, B.C., wine growing region.
Penticton conservation officer Mike Stern says the first incident occurred a few weeks ago when an off-leash dog left the KVR trail and attacked a deer on private property.
“The deer was basically being attacked for several minutes and suffered lacerations to the face and was exhausted to a point where it couldn’t walk anymore,” he said. The deer later died.
Then on Tuesday, another dog chased a cow moose into an orchard fence near the 4200-block of North Naramata Rd.
Stern responded and freed the distressed animal from the fence but it was too tired and injured to move.
“Unfortunately, the next morning the property owner reported that the cow died overnight,” he said.
Allowing a dog to chase wildlife is illegal under the B.C. Wildlife Act and in both cases the dog owners were fined $345.
Some comments to the Conservation Officer Service Facebook page suggest the fine is too low to act as a deterrent.
“In some cases it is possible to go through the court procedure and try to obtain a few thousand dollars worth of fines, $345 is the minimum and you can’t put a value to wildlife so they are almost priceless,” Stern responded.
Neighbour Sheila Taylor also tried to free the moose from the fence next to her property when she heard the commotion outside of her home. She was disturbed by the incident and encourages dog owners to be more responsible.
“It just didn’t need to happen, I think if people were to keep a better eye on their dogs, the dog had a collar, obviously it was owned by someone, it wasn’t a feral dog,” she said
“People are responsible for what their animals do.
“It was very sad, I love wildlife and especially seeing moose because you don’t see them that often.”
Stern says chasing wildlife can also pose a public safety threat if the wild animal runs on to a roadway and causes a traffic accident.
He says dog owners are urged to keep their dogs leashed or in enclosures to ensure the safety of both dogs and wild animals.
“Realize that we do live in British Columbia and all areas of British Columbia, you’re going to have wildlife encounters and you need to be responsible and take actions to prevent any conflicts from happening,” he said.