A dog found in a pool of blood in the North Okanagan was discovered to have been shot twice.
“When he got home, he was flopped down. He didn't even make it up the steps,” says owner Don Beattie.
“He was about done when he got there. He couldn't move any further.”
On May 31, Beattie says he brought his dog, Ben, outside with him when he heard a quad drive by. He didn’t think much of it, he lives on an acreage near Mabel Lake and hears them all the time.
It took him 15 to 20 minutes to finish some lawn work and head back inside. That’s when he found Ben, lying in a pool of blood.
“We're on 20 acres here, and it's all forested. So, first thing I thought was either a cougar or a bear had got him, so I frantically loaded him into the car,” says Beattie.
“I had to drive him pretty much to Kelowna, where after about an hour or two at Tri-Lake Animal Hospital, I was told that he had two bullets in him, after the X rays were taken. I believe them to be .22-calibre bullets.”
One bullet went into Ben’s hind quarter and shattered on his hip; the second went through his lung and remains embedded in his chest.
The bullets can't be removed right now because it would be too dangerous for the three-year-old dog.
He seems to be doing better, but Beattie says Tuesday night Ben had thrown up “quite a lot of blood.”
“We can't let him free, he's got to be in a cage. And we can just take him out for walks on a short lead because he cannot move too abruptly in fear of worsening his wounds,” says Beattie.
The vet bills for Ben have been steadily growing.
“We were gonna put him down because we couldn't afford the vet bill, but we love him, he’s a member of the family, and putting him down? We couldn't do it.”
Ben is in stable condition, but they’re not sure if that will last. The bullets might still need to be removed, which will be costly due to their location.
A GoFundMe campaign has been created to help cover veterinary costs that could reach $12,000.
Beattie and his wife have contacted the RCMP and SPCA. Police told them there was nothing they could do, and the SPCA is conducting its own investigation.
The couple says it’s unlikely their dog got off their property and all the way back to the house in 15 minutes, with a bullet in his lung. Even if he had managed that, they say, they only have two neighbours who also have dogs and are fine with Ben on their property.
Beattie thought it might have been a farmer, but there’s only one close by and he says he would never do this to a dog. He says Ben isn't a problem for his neighbours, only for "a coward with a gun."
The pair have always allowed hunting on their property, but no longer.
“I know 99.9% of the hunters are ethical, and wouldn't do this. But now every time we see a hunter, we're going to think, is that the guy that shot my dog? Or is that a guy that is going to shoot my dog?”
Ben is an Australian shepherd-border collie cross, a herding dog.
Beattie says some have pointed to the Livestock Act, which allows a dog to be killed if it's "running at large, and attacking or viciously pursuing livestock."
Beattie says their farmer neighbour has said the dog has never caused problems.