Investigation into dog deaths continues

The circumstances of a shooting in Elkford that involved two dogs is still being determined by the BC SPCA.

The circumstances of a shooting in Elkford that involved two dogs that allegedly went after a neighbour’s chickens is still being determined by the BC SPCA.

Const. Jeremy Irons with the BC SPCA is in charge of the investigation.

Irons said that interviews will be conducted this week as Elkford residents have come forward with information he deems valuable to the investigation.

“There is no definitive decision made and nothing has been forwarded to the Crown yet,” said Irons who is currently waiting on necropsy results of the two dogs.

The necropsies were conducted last weekend.

Elkford resident James Bonnell described the event in a prepared statement to Global.

“I went into the house and got my low velocity .22. As the dog was chewing on the chicken, I shot it and it went down. I looked up and seen [sic] another dog coming around my camping trailer and it was growling at me. I shot it and it went down. I went inside to put the gun away. When I come [sic] back outside to check on the dogs they were gone from the yard. I went and got my gun again and went looking for the wounded dogs because I didn’t want them to suffer and I found them nearby. I put them into [my] truck and drove them a few kilometres out of town where I put them out of their misery as humanely as possible. My neighbour [Aaron Hunink] drove up where I put them and said he was going to report me. He did not say he knew who’s [sic] the dogs were belonged. I drove home and did a check of my yard. I found seven dead chickens in one coop, two dead ones in the yard and two missing. There were feathers everywhere. The dogs had torn into four of my pens, ripping heavy chicken wire, leaving teeth and claw marks.”

Bonnell said that had he known to whom the dogs belonged he wouldn’t have shot them and that this is the first incidence in which he has shot such animals.

Bonnell could not be reached for further comment.

Postings on social media from residents have claimed otherwise, but the BC SPCA has said they are not aware of any other incidents regarding Bonnell.

The dogs’ owner Jen Bryant expressed incredulity at Bonnell’s story, countering it by saying neighbour Hunink pleaded Bonnell to not shoot the dogs.

“When my friend saw [Bonnell drive away with my dogs] he followed them out of town. When he arrived, one of my dogs was already dead and the other was alive. [Hunink] proceeded to say, ‘Please, we know the owner of the dogs, please don’t do this’ and he shot her anyways. Aaron took pictures and proceeded to go to the police station and get a hold of us,” said Bryant.

Bryant added, “I can’t bring my dogs back and I can’t bring the chickens back. I would have paid for them but unfortunately that’s said and gone now … I want justice for my dogs more now than I did before and if I have any say in it, I will charge him with anything and everything I can.”

According to Irons, “Were the allegations to be true, we would be looking at Section 445(1) of the Criminal Code or the Livestock Act which could come into play.”

Section 445(1) details offences committed wilfully and without lawful excuse to kill, maim, wound, poison or injure dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle.

Conversely, the Livestock Act permits the killing of a dog should a person find the dog attacking or viciously pursuing their livestock.

Irons said that the investigation may continue for another week as he determines if a crime was committed.

Bryant said that the presence of a puppy donated to the family following the incident is helping her children cope.

“The puppy is definitely helping them heal, but nothing is going to take the place of our dogs,” she said emotionally. “It’s affected everything. It’s affected my whole life.”