(Submitted by Nicolas Payant - image credit)
A Rockland, Ont., man whose dog was apparently struck and killed by a snowmobile on the weekend is calling on authorities to rein in reckless behaviour on the frozen Ottawa River.
Nicolas Payant was ice fishing east of Ottawa late Saturday afternoon when a friend spotted his dog, Yoakam, lying dead in the track of a snowmoblie that had passed about 200 metres from their fishing hut. The husky-shepherd mix had been allowed to wander off leash while Payant was fishing.
You've just killed somebody's dog and you ran away? - Nicolas Payant
Debris from a broken vehicle light was found near the animal's remains.
"He got hit so hard that the snowmobile [must have been] doing at least 50 or more miles an hour. He cut him open, died on the spot," Payant said. "We were all in shock, crying. Like, this is a hit and run."
Payant said he's heartbroken about Yoakam's death, but also angry at the snowmobile's operator.
"You've just killed somebody's dog and you ran away?"
Payant said there were hundreds of snowmobiles out on the frozen river Saturday, so he doesn't know who's responsible. After describing what happened on social media, Payant said he was flooded with sympathetic messages, but also criticism for letting his dog run loose.
But Payant doesn't believe that excuses the snowmobile operator for fleeing the scene. He said high speeds, alcohol and recklessness are common problems on the river, and he believes police should do a better job monitoring the area.
Payant said he contacted Ontario Provincial Police on Saturday, but was told little could be done.
"We often get complaints with people going too fast near the edge of the land," said Const. Russ Beaton, a member of the OPP's snow vehicle, all-terrain vehicle and vessel enforcement team. "We have marine units that patrol throughout the season and will check speeds and liquor, etcetera."
An avid snowmobiler himself, Payant said he just wants the person who killed his dog to take responsibility.
"I want to find that guy," he said. "This is unacceptable."