WHISTLER, B.C. — A woman says her four-year-old therapy dog has been shot and killed by a hunter who mistook the animal for a wolf near Whistler, B.C.
Valé Calderoni said she and another handler were finishing a hike with 10 dogs on Monday when she heard a loud bang and instinctively crouched down.
"It was really, really loud, right next to me," she said.
When she got back up, Calderoni saw her beloved dog Kaoru had been hit by a bullet about three metres away and was bleeding profusely.
The dog stumbled, then fell and as she ran towards the animal, Calderoni heard her hiking partner yell, "Put your gun down! Put your gun down!"
A hunter shot the dog at close range, thinking it was a wolf, Calderoni said. Kaoru was a Tamaskan dog, a breed that looks similar to wolves.
There was no time to get the dog help, she added. Kaoru was suffering and died shortly after.
Calderoni said she was in shock and crying, but demanded to see the man's hunting licence. Still, she can't understand what happened.
"I have no idea how he didn't see it. I have no idea why he killed my dog," Calderoni said.
"I hike in that area with kids. I'm so lucky that I didn't get shot ... I don't understand how this came to be."
Calderoni owns a dog rehabilitation centre in Squamish, B.C., and said Kaoru was a therapy dog that provided emotional support to many people, including children with autism.
Now she wants the animal's death to lead to change and said she'll push to have the area made a no-hunting zone.
"We just can't allow this," she said. "This is the most horrible thing. Nobody should suffer this, no animal should go through this."
RCMP and the BC Conservation Officers Service did not immediately respond to requests about whether they're investigating the incident.
The Canadian Press