Christmas was a sad affair for the family of Michel and Trudy Comeau near Eel Lake in Digby County.
On Dec. 19 their two German Shepards – Apollo (10 years) and Nyx (20 months) - got loose and headed for the woods.
The family searched for them by foot in the immediate vicinity, on a four-wheeler over a wider area and then by truck, all with no luck.
Three days later, Nyx returned noticeably injured. Trudy Comeau took her to a Yarmouth veterinarian for surgery. The vet discovered that the dog had been shot at least a day before, perhaps earlier.
A Department of Natural Resources officer, called in by the vet, confirmed that the dog had been shot with a high power rifle. Nyx died from her injuries.
“We still look to no avail up the driveway every now and then to see if Apollo will be coming home but we know that he has met the same fate as Nyx,” said Comeau, who added she was experiencing grief, shock, and disillusionment that someone in her community would do such a thing.
“We have owned German Shepherds since 1986 and have been blessed, as each one of our dogs possessed a wonderful temperament. Our shepherds have always been family pets that loved attention from people. We have never had an incident where anyone was ever intimidated by one of our dogs,” she said.
During the search for their missing pets Comeau says they encountered other people who said their dogs were missing as well but that they wished to remain anonymous.
Shawna Comeau says that in the three years she’s worked as municipal dog catcher for Clare, no one has contacted her to say their dogs have been shot.
“We’ve had calls about mistreated dogs or those being left out in the cold. Though I’m sure it’s happened (dogs shot), I never received the call.”
Sergeant Jeff Holmes, with the Meteghan RCMP detachment, says he’s experienced similar situations in other provinces. He pointed out that it’s important to keep pets in an enclosure for their protection.
“I think it’s best to have an enclosure as opposed to dogs being on a line or a tether. In my experience they’re safer if they are in a dog pen, run or fenced yard. If you have dogs running at large and they attack livestock or people, they may unfortunately end up being shot by someone.”
He added that if anyone believes their dogs have been shot, the detachment would certainly investigate the reports.
Comeau says that anyone who owns a pet knows it’s impossible to be 100 per cent sure it won’t explore the surrounding woods, especially when residing in a rural area.
“But you do rely on the kindness of your neighbours, that if they see a dog, they will contact you. Our neighbours always did, even when our dogs crashed their child’s birthday party or an outside barbeque uninvited. They have called us and we went immediately to get them. They were friendly dogs that loved people and children.”
Comeau added that they don’t wish the sadness and grief that their family has experienced over the holiday season on any other family.
“We want dog owners to be aware of someone shooting dogs in the Bangor to Meteghan Station area in the Municipality of Clare.”
The family is asking anyone that notices a dog wandering, lost, or wounded to contact the municipal dog catcher at 902-769-2388, 902-645-2833 or 902-778-1038, CIFA, the local radio station at 902-769- 2432 or the Meteghan RCMP detachment at 902-645-2326.